Since 1981, Forbes local Dianne Decker has been organising the annual Forbes Special Sports Day, and despite the event almost ceasing in 1984, it will celebrate its 35th birthday on Wednesday. The event will be held at the Red Bend College gymnasium, starting at 9.30am with a morning tea, before progressing to a team march-past behind local bagpiper Brian Tisdell.
After this, sports such as walking races, relays, dressing races and three-legged races will begin, culminating to a game of musical chairs at the end of the day, and if people still have energy to expend, there may even be some dancing.
The Special Sports Day is an annual event that provides activities for people of all disabilities to get involved in. The event is not just for Forbes-based competitors either, with people from Dubbo, Orange, Condobolin, Parkes and Young expected to make the trip. Intellectual disabilities are normally well represented at the event, and Mrs Decker said it was this that kept the event alive back in the 1980s.
“When we started we held a lot of wheel chair events, but once wheel chair events became officially recognised as a professional sport, a lot of competitors went to other events,” she said. “But the intellectual disability groups really wanted us to keep going with the event, and it’s been going ever since…we now run sports for all disabilities.”
The official march of all competing teams will also be judged, with Red Bend Principal Br Michael Flanagan and Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller to be joined by other local personalities to judge the winner for the best march. Mrs Decker said that while the event gave an opportunity for people with disabilities to compete in selected sports, the most important thing was the social aspect of it.
“It’s a great chance for people to renew friendships and just get together and have fun,” she said. Mrs Decker said she had also written to Prince Harry, a well-known advocate for disability sports, to invite him to the event. She said she received a response from him, and while the Prince stated he will not be able to make it to the event this year, he stated he would like to keep receiving invites, and would endeavor to attend the event in the future.