Video: Kick-off for Electric Eels Powerchair Football Club
IT STARTED with a wish for his son to feel more included and enjoy the thrills of a team sport.
Now Charlie Fox, nine, is able to enjoy a game with his friends in the new East Riding Electric Eels Powerchair Football Club.
Charlie's dad Andy Fox, 44, of east Hull, set the wheels in motion to establish a team in the city.
Charlie suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy and, although he attends mainstream school, he uses a wheelchair and therefore could not join in sports events with his friends.
Boiler Service only £35
Fire Service only £40
Also Boiler and Fire Service £65 Saving £30 from full prices
Lines open today
Please quote HDM on the phone
Gas Safe Registration number: 506483
Terms: back boilers not included
Contact: 01482 423356
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"A lot of his friends were getting into football teams and I wanted him to have that feeling of being part of a team," said Andy.
"You have that adrenalin rush of being in a competitive sport and the comradery of being in a team."
Andy found a powerchair football team in Featherstone and began taking Charlie two years ago.
But he wanted something closer to home for Charlie to enjoy.
Although the city has wheelchair basketball and rugby, Andy failed to find a football team.
Andy said: "Charlie's condition means he needs an electric wheelchair, so powerchair football was fantastic for him.
"He absolutely loves it now."
Andy put the word out to all special needs and mainstream schools in the area and contacted East Riding County FA for help.
A taster session was then held at Sirius Academy and children and young adults went along to try it.
The club was officially set up in January and, so far, there have been four sessions.
Andy said: "We have nine regulars, who have a range of disabilities.
"The youngest player is five, while the eldest is 26.
"They get so much out of it and have a lot of fun.
"It is brilliant to see so many people being included in a sport they can all have a go at."
The club holds four-a-side powerchair football games in a gym.
Just like football, the idea is to put a ball in between two posts to score.
The ball is larger than a regular football and it is pushed around by bumpers fixed to the bottom of the wheelchairs.
The four-a-side teams are made up of one goalkeeper and three outfield players.
But the game is an expensive one – bumpers alone cost £400 and proper powerchair football chairs cost between £4,000 and £5,000.
Andy said: "The club owns three powerchairs and some bumpers to fix to the players' own chairs.
"The idea is to get the club established and get some funding for equipment."
The club has already been supported by Hull Wyke Roundtable, Life For A Kid, Lee Simms and the Neil Hudgell Community Fund.
This week, a further £500 was donated to the team from the Club Cosmo Foundation.
Cosmo's Mal Williamson said: "We've been working hard over the past three years to raise funds for young people involved in music and sport and to now see the benefit is amazing.
"This is our first official donation and is a massive milestone for us."
The club meets fortnightly on Saturdays at St Mary's in Cranbrook Avenue, north Hull.
New members are welcome to attend.
Andy said: "The ultimate goal is to get our team into a league and have some games against other teams.
"I want to see as many children and young adults enjoying this sport as possible.
"I am so thrilled to see so many coming along and enjoying it."
To find out more about joining, search for East Riding Electric Eels on Facebook, visit www.eastridingelectriceels.co.uk or call Andy on 07778 321618.