A boccia enthusiast who was runner-up in this year’s UK Championships has spoken about how the sport has helped him become ‘part of a great community.’
James Clowes, 25, was born with athethoid cerebral palsy as a result of clinical negligence.
Aged 11, the Waterlooville youngster began playing boccia - a precision ball sport similar to bowls played by competitors with physical disabilities.
This was as part of his PE lessons at Alton’s Treloar School.
James started competing when he was 14 and now plays as part of the Solent boccia team and also competes with the England squad.
For the last 17 years, James has been supported by Court of Protection experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, who have helped him access specialist treatment and equipment.
He has now joined with his legal team to celebrate National Boccia Day this coming Thursday, which marks 35 years since boccia became a Paralympic sport.
Jack Sole, from Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office, said: ‘James is such an inspirational young man.
‘Through our work we see people with disabilities go on to thrive physically and mentally by taking part in boccia. National Boccia Day is a great way of raising awareness of the sport and its many benefits.
‘James is a talented player and I know he enjoys the social aspect of the sport as much as the activity.’
James ranks coming second in the UK Championships in June as one of his biggest achievements so far, along with second place in this year’s BE Cups finals and becoming the National BC2 Champion in 2013.
He was also selected to play as part of the England team in the Polska Open during the summer.
‘Boccia has helped me stay active and become part of a great community,’ he added.
‘I’ve always enjoyed playing, but competing takes it to a whole new level for me and I am so proud of what I have achieved.’
Irwin Mitchell is an official partner of the sport’s national governing body Boccia UK, while staff from the national law firm are also involved in running and volunteering at a number of clubs across the UK.