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Six Cornish youngsters help disable people to surf

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Six young people from Cornwall have been helping disabled people to surf as part of a Leadership into Coaching course.

They spent two days at Fistral Beach in Newquay working with people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties.

Staff from Newquay-based Freedom Surf demonstrated to the students how to run a surf lesson for someone with disabilities.

The course included beach safety, basic moving and handling training, transfer on to the surf board from a wheelchair and the fundamentals of conducting a lesson.

It course was set up by the Cornwall Sports Partnership and accredited by Sports Leaders UK.

The young people who took part were from Doubletrees Special School in Par, Camborne College, St Austell College and Truro College.

One of the students, 18-year old Mark Stevens, from St Ives, is a double amputee himself. He is studying towards a national diploma in sport coaching, fitness and development at Truro College.

He said surfing was a brilliant activity for someone with a disability.

 “It was awesome, a really good experience all round. It’s a really good feeling being free on the water, you feel normal – like you can surf like everyone else.”

Joseph Schenk, 15, from St Austell, who attends Doubletrees School, said: “It was good to be able to work in a team and help coach other people. I enjoyed it.”

The other students who took part were Hayley Boulden from Camborne, Gemma Sanders from Redruth, Thomas Cook from Trispen and Emma Toms from St Austell.

Joe Taylor, a spokesman for Freedom Surf, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to get non disabled and disabled students working together to create a wonderful experience.

“The work was challenging for the students but they responded extremely positively. It shows just how much can be achieved when people work together.”

Steve Hillman, from the Cornwall Sports Partnership, said:

“The last couple of days have been superb, to witness first hand inclusive activity like this is extremely humbling. It’s obvious the enjoyment had been all by measuring the size of the smiles on everyone’s faces. Let’s hope more opportunities like this one can happen again!”