Spirited Smilers make us proud!
HE'S our Smileathon hero!
The chairman of North East Lincolnshire Disability Sports Forum earned the admiration of the crowds by walking a mile in under 34 minutes at the huge event on Sunday.
Colin Woodford, 56, who was born with cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair for about 40 years, set himself the challenge of walking a 40-minute mile with the aid of two walking sticks after his charity was chosen as one of the eight beneficiaries of the event.
And Grimsby man Colin, who thought he would never walk again following an operation in his teens, was delighted to complete three and a third laps of Meridian Park in 33 minutes 34 seconds.
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He said: "Once I set myself the challenge I spent three months training for the event. It's been really good for me.
"I love walking. Even though it looks uncomfortable and painful, it isn't. To me it feels like I'm walking normally until I see myself in the mirror and think 'that's not me'.
"But it was a relief to get to the finish. It was so hot I wasn't sure I was going to do it in time."
The two-times disabled tennis table world champion added: "I'm passionate about sport for people with disabilities. Hopefully the Paralympics will give a few more disabled people a little bit more belief in what they can achieve."
Meanwhile, the team behind the Smileathon fun run have sent their heart-felt thanks to those who made it a day to remember.
The participants in the run along Cleethorpes seafront – in blistering heat – have been praised for showing "the spirit of the Smileathon".
As reported, scores of people took part in the event to raise money for eight Lincolnshire charities, and many dressed up in sweltering fancy dress costumes to make it a spectacle to behold.
Barry Howells, on behalf of the Smileathon committee, said: "Eighty-six-year-old Ron Lidguard got it, and so did nine-year-old Holly Smith, Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, David Christie at Ramsdens, the council's chief executive Tony Hunter, Postman Pat, John Fenty and GTFC, the Grimsby Telegraph, Cromwell Road firefighters got it, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers ... the list goes on.
"They all recognised the objectives of the Smileathon – to bring the community together, to have a fun day by dressing up and having a day to remember.
"All those who took part will now be busy collecting sponsorship, so there's just one thing left to say – thank you."
Sponsor forms, which were included in the Smileathon entry packs, should be completed and taken to the HSBC banks in Sea View Street, Cleethorpes, or Victoria Street, Grimsby, together with money and/or cheques made out to Smileathon by the end of October.
Anyone under 16 who managed to raise £50 or more will be entered into a raffle for a £100 toy voucher from Ramsdens. Adults who raised £100 or more will also be entered into a raffle.
If you missed the event and would like to donate, send a cheque, made out to Smileathon, to: Jenny Shipley, c/o Grimsby Telegraph, Cleethorpe Road, Grimsby, DN31 3EH.