Current and future Paralympic stars head to Nottingham

08 Jun 2011 14:44:25.217

PA 181/11

Britain’s current and future Paralympic stars are set to compete at the Cerebral Palsy Sports National Swimming Championships at The University of Nottingham this June.

While swimmers as young as 12 will use the event as a stepping stone in their development, others including Paralympic Champion Liz Johnson, will be looking to build their form ahead of London 2012.

In total 45 swimmers will compete in 10 events at the championships, which take place from 10am-4pm on Sunday June 12, with organisers hoping to unearth new talent for 2016 and beyond.

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The event will also coincide with James Birchnell’s channel distance swim. The 15-year-old from Workshop in Nottinghamshire, will attempt to swim 1432 lengths of the 25 metre pool, the equivalent of swimming the English Channel.

James, who has Cerebral Palsy, hopes to complete the challenge in one week to raise vital funds for the charity Cerebral Palsy Sport.

The charity’s Fundraising Manager, Caroline Dolan said: “Cerebral palsy affects each individual differently but often causes stiff, weak and painful muscles. Swimming offers some relief from this and can help build strength and muscle control.

“James’s challenge is awe inspiring! Cerebral Palsy Sport relies on voluntary contributions to fund its life changing work and we are currently working in exceptionally difficult economic circumstances. Every penny James raises will make a difference to our work and enable us to reach more people with cerebral palsy.”

Hannah Webber, The University of Nottingham’s Disability Officer, will be volunteering on the day and organisers from CP Sport are now looking others to do the same.

Hannah said: “By hosting the Cerebral Palsy Sport National Championships, The University of Nottingham is continuing not only to develop its relationship with CP Sport, but build the reputation of disability sport on campus and beyond.

“We are continually looking to work with the Student Union and other national governing bodies to promote and develop opportunities for disabled students and staff at the University, through the development of initiatives such as Any-Body Month, Any-Body Club and the Any-Buddy Scheme.”

To volunteer or find out more information about Cerebral Palsy Sport, please email:  


Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.

More news from the University at:  

Cerebral Palsy Sport promotes and seeks to increase sport and physical recreational opportunities for people with a disability and especially those who have cerebral palsy, whether in the pursuit of excellence or for fun and enjoyment.

Cerebral palsy affects around one in every 400 births and can be caused from lack of oxygen at birth, damage to the developing foetus, a viral infection, certain drugs or poor nutrition. It is the most common form of severe disability amongst children worldwide. The number of babies born with cerebral palsy is not declining. It affects each individual differently and difficulties include:

• Limited movements
• Uncontrolled movements
• Epilepsy
• A learning difficulty
• Visual impairments
• Hearing impairments
• Muscle spasm / muscle floppiness
• Muscle stiffness or weakness
• Difficulties eating

For more information about Cerebral Palsy Sport, please visit:  

Story credits

For more information please contact Hannah Webber, Disability Sport Officer, The University of Nottingham at

Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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