Team GB paralympians visit school in Knutsford to get children talking about disability

  • Report by Granada Reports sports correspondent Chris Hall

A pair of North West Team GB Paralympian's are using their platform ahead of the Winter games in Beijing to get people talking about disability.

Ashton T37 sprinter Michael Churm and Wigan swimmer Rachael Latham visited Peover Superior School near Knutsford to help children raise money for new sports equipment.

They also hoped to encourage children to ask questions and to normalise having a disability.

Michael Churm, who has cerebral palsy, said: "Children are very direct and they'll ask why you've no legs.

"That's the attitude to have because it gives the person with a disability chance to explain.

"When I was at school, I was the only person with a disability. Paralympic sport was hardly seen on TV or just a token half an hour.

"Every athlete has a tale to tell and obstacles they've overcome. This brings an element of representation that was never available when I was at school."

Michael Churm competes in the T37 sprint

Michael has been competing since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic games, where he won silver in the 4 x 100m relay. He has also set a 100m record that stood for eight years.

His fellow Team GB athlete Rachael Latham has also found the Paralympics inspiring.

Rachel said: "I saw no winter Paralympic sport as a youngster and that was so sad. Then I worked on 2004 Paralympics in Athens and it was first time I saw someone ski blind.

"My jaw was to the floor. I was inspired to get up on a slope. That's what sport's about."

Rachael Latham is a Paralympic swimmer

Michael and Rachael will be joined in Beijing by fellow North West athlete Mena Fitzpatrick, an alpine skier from Macclesfield.

The children from Peover Superior School near Knutsford left the Sports for Schools session much wiser about how anyone with a disability can be an athlete too.

The Beijing Winter Paralympics begin on Friday 4 March and continue until 13 March.