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Buddy Bear’s pitch invasion at Home Nations Football Championships Final

Buddy Bear received a very warm welcome from all the managers and players during a visit to the final of the 2012 Cerebral Palsy Home Nations Championships at the Billy Neill Centre of Excellence in Dundonald on Sunday.

Despite the home side losing narrowly 2-1, spirits were raised as the commitment and standard of play was exemplary.

Brendan McConville said “As someone who has worked for 25 years with children who have cerebral palsy it was truly inspirational, our parents would be delighted if their children could aspire to some of the level of talent and determination of the players”.

“It would have been great for Northern Ireland if the whole event had a higher media profile, not only as it would have given hope to parents and inspiration to young people who have to confront the challenges of Cerebral Palsy on a daily basis – but also an opportunity to show how far we have come as a community to be able to hold such an international event”.

Brendan McConville, chairman of the Buddy Bear Trust Conductive Education School, added “Our school is the only school in Ireland that offers conductive education to children with cerebral palsy and we have to rely heavily on the support of the community to allow us to continue to provide this life changing facility. We were delighted to receive 2 signed football jersey’s from Northern Ireland and England squads which we intend to use to help fundraise, the Scotland squad have promised to donate one of theirs also.”

“Hopefully through this publicity some firm or sports club will hold a fundraising event for the children attending our school”.

Brendan praised Mr Alan Cooks Northern Ireland Cerebral Palsy football manager and his support staff for their professionalism and the generosity shown to Buddy Bear.

Alan Crooks explained that “Cerebral Palsy Football is available to those with Cerebral Palsy or a restriction in mobility caused by a brain injury or stroke. The 7-a-side games are an hour long and played outdoors on grass. It’s fast paced and action packed and games are usually a high scoring affair.”

A photo gallery of our visit together with in play images from the final can be viewed on our website

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