Football-mad disabled Hastings boy to have his first match, thanks to public

Phil Broom, AITC disability football coach, and Henry Walker
Phil Broom, AITC disability football coach, and Henry Walker

A budding disabled footballer will be playing in his first ever match later this year, thanks to the public’s generosity.

Henry Walker, who is five and lives in Whitefriars Road, is so passionate about football he and his family have been looking for other disabled youngsters to play frame football with.

In May, the youngster’s family launched an appeal for the public’s help.

Since then, Albion in the Community (AITC), the official charity of Brighton & Hove Albion FC, invited Henry to its disability football session at Eastbourne Sports Park. There he was given a 45-minute one-to-one session working on his skills. He then joined in and scored his first ever goal in his first ever match.

Henry’s 11-year-old brother Johnny plays football four times a week for All Stars Sussex in Eastbourne, which has helped Henry find disabled players.

Patsy Walker, Henry’s grandmother, said: “We have enough players, but will always need more to register a team in the Frame Football Association, where they can then enter tournaments.

“Kings Hill FC frame football in Kent has offered us our first match. Hopefully there will be a tournament in October.

“To go with this the team needs a kit so Charity for Kids has given Henry £500 to pay for this. Henry will be presenting the cheque to All Stars, on behalf of Charity for Kids on Saturday.

“It’s fantastic how all of this has taken off. It’s so wonderful and I can’t thank anyone enough for all of their support. We have a player from Newhaven and another from Seaford and still getting enquiries about it. We have nine players so far, with another two coming in September.

“Henry is really made up and loves every minute of it.”

Henry, who attends Robsack Wood Primary Academy, has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that usually appears in infancy or early childhood and permanently affects muscle control and coordination. Affected people have increased muscle tone which leads to stiff or tight muscles in the legs. The arm muscles are generally less affected or not affected at all.

Frame football, or cerebral palsy football (CP), is already gaining recognition as an inclusive adapted sport.

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