Paralympian guest

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MEMBERS of a health group were thrilled to be paid a visit by a Hartlepool Paralympian of yesteryear.

Kevin Walsh, who represented Great Britain in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, was guest speaker during a recent meeting of Hartlepool Diabetes Group.

Kevin, who now delivers adult training courses at Belle Vue Community and Youth Centre, in the town, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 1984 and was told he would never play sport again.

But his physiotherapist suggested he become a Paralympic swimmer, and by 1991 he was in the GB team.

A year later, he was selected for the Paralympics in Barcelona and went on to win bronze in a relay.

The 46-year-old, who described how people had “written him off” before he got into sport, said: “It’s brilliant that people still want to talk to you about something that happened a while ago.

“The way people receive you is great, especially in light of the fact the Paralympics was on the television recently.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to pass on my experiences.”

The group’s facilitator Hayley Hakansson, who has been a member since being diagnosed with diabetes three years ago, said: “Everybody thought Kevin was brilliant.

“I work with Kevin at the Belle Vue centre and had never heard how he got into Paralympics, and everyone was completely engrossed.”

The group provides support to anyone suffering from diabetes, and also welcomes anyone with an interest in the condition.

The group’s next meeting is this Friday, October 19 at Hartlepool Central Library, in York Road, from 10am-noon and the speaker will be PC Steve Davies from the Safer Hartlepool team.

New members are always welcome to attend.

For more information, visit www.hartlepooldiabetesgroup.org.uk or call 07818132671.