A LEISURE centre trainer has been crowned as the county’s best disability sports coach at an annual awards ceremony.
Lee Welch, 31, from Stanstead Abbotts, who is an instructor at the Everyone Active-operated Hartham Leisure Centre in Hertford, was the winner in the Disability Sports Coach of the Year category at this year’s Herts Service to Sports Awards on Thursday (December 1).
Born with spina bifida, a condition affecting the development of the spine, Mr Welch has always had to use a wheelchair.
A former member of Team GB’s wheelchair basketball team, he has a passion for sport and exercise, and competed his Level 3 exercise and fitness course with InstructAbility, a group providing qualifications and opportunities for people with disabilities.
Mr Welch runs a series of “disability and mobility” classes in a bid to build confidence in people with disabilities and limited mobility.
In October of last year, he was given an InstructAbility award for his efforts in setting up the inclusive fitness sessions, and has continued to use his own experiences to encourage disabled people to get involved in sport.
Mr Welch said.”It was really unexpected as I’ve only been working in the fitness industry for about a year, but things have gone really well for me in that time.
“I was quite shy as a child, and I found that playing basketball really helped to build my confidence up.
“However, I was quite fortunate as I don’t feel as though much was being done at the time to provide disabled people with opportunities in sport.
“My classes are open to all disabilities, and focuses on both upper body and cardio exercise.
“They take place at 1pm every Friday and the first session is complimentary and sessions after that cost £3.
“I would strongly recommend young people with disabilities to try out a sport, as you just don’t know where it could lead you.”
The Herts Service to Sport Awards celebrate the contributions of volunteers and fitness clubs to sport across the county. Nominees are put forward because of their commitment and dedication to sport, use of innovative ideas to develop or enhance their sport, and their work widening opportunities for participation.
Everyone Active contract manager Dan Humphries said: “We are delighted and very proud of Lee for his Disability Sport Coach of the Year award.
“He has made a huge difference to so many people here at Hartham Leisure Centre, both inspiring them to start and enjoy physical activity as well as using his coaching skills to keep them motivated and progressing.
“He is truly deserving of this award.”
Source: Hertfordshire Mercury.
By: Sam Payne.
We would like to extend our congratulations for this award to Lee Welch and best wishes for the future. (WDSAUK)