Children had the chance to meet a Paralympic gold medallist as part of the Light A Lantern festival.
Youngsters of all abilities took part in a series of Paralympic sports at Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham.
Swimmer Peter Hull MBE was born without legs and with arms ending at his elbows. But that didn’t stop him succeeding as he won gold medals at the Paralympics in Barcelona in 1992. He met some of the children at the Light A Lantern Festival.
The event was held ahead of the Paralympics opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium in London tonight.
The children took part in activities such as new age kurling, rugby skills, seated volleyball, long jump, ball shots and Boccia (wheelchair bowls). Some of the children were then awarded their own gold medals for their achievements.
Tom de Wit, curator at the museum, says: ‘This is to celebrate the Paralympic Games. Hopefully it will inspire people to carry on the activities after the Games have finished. It’s just fantastic to be involved.
‘There has been so much enthusiasm and passion over the whole period of the Olympic and Paralympic games. It’s brought the community to life.’
He adds: ‘The achievements of the athletes involved are greater because of the obstacles that people are overcoming.
‘For them to be so determined to go on and achieve something, the level of willpower is astonishing.
‘The kids have really enjoyed it.’
Janie Millerchip of Fareham Borough Council who organised the event, adds: ‘We wanted to do a celebration for the Paralympics. But we wanted to focus on able-bodied children taking part in activities alongside disabled children.
‘So every activity can be taken part in by everybody.
‘You can take part in these things as a child and you might not get another opportunity again.’
Seamus Flood, 36, of Boundary Oak School, took his three children Seamus Og, five, Isabella, three, and Sophie, one, along.
He says: ‘I’m a PE teacher. We love sports and we love the Olympics. We thought it would be an ideal opportunity to come down and experience some of the things the kids can do.
‘It’s been great, they have really enjoyed themselves. They’ve got to experience lots of new things. It’s vital for them growing up that they know about the sports around them.’