Founding member of SportsAble delighted at plans for expansion

Founding member of SportsAble delighted at plans for expansion

Lucy Golding

Founding member of SportsAble delighted at plans for expansion

A founding member of SportsAble in Maidenhead has expressed her delight at the club's bid to expand.

Dr Christine Meaden PhD, was one of a small group of individuals to set up the disabled sports club in 1975 which was formerly known as WAMDSAD.

The 69-year-old says she knew there were talks to expand but was kept in the dark as to the extent of the proposed development which was announced last month at the president's annual reception.

Plans have been laid out for a £5m development of the clubhouse in Braywick Sports Park and an aim for the facility to be a centre of excellence in the UK.

"I look back and think about when they opened the club house in 1981," said Christine, who in particular has praised the charity's plans to collaborate with Maidenhead Athletic Club.

"It has surpassed what we expected."

She was asked to join the original committee because of her skills as a physiotherapist and also started coaching archery and table tennis.

Her husband Howard, also 69 and former engineer at British Airways, also volunteered by driving the minibus.

Christine, who is originally from South Wales, was one of five individuals presented with a lifetime achievement award at the president's reception for her 38 years to the club.

Alongside coaching the Bloomfield Road householder developed a classification system for disabled athletes inspired by a trip to the New York Paralympics in 1984.

The system, one of Britain's first, allowed competition between people with like levels of impairment.

Named The Profile System, it was then used nationwide and on an international stage by the British equestrian team at the Sydney Olympics.

SportsAble has used the system ever since, helping to dramatically simplify competitions.

Despite the proposed expansion rebuild, Christine believes SportsAble's future success will be down to its staff and members.

"I can't believe the enthusiasm at the club,"  said the grandmother-of-four, who has worked at St Mark's Hospital and Claremont Surgery in Cookham Road

"I have met some fantastic people there."

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