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Woody Welcomes

  • Writer's pictureNatalie O'Rourke

Woody Welcomes...Crystal Palace!

We wanted to start with a big thank you to everyone who has been supportive of this Woody Welcomes blog and we always love your feedback. Woody's mum met a senior member of the Premier League last week who told her how much they all love the blog and are looking at ways to support we'll keep you posted on that!

We had such an amazing time away at Arsenal last week. Three absolutely lovely lads were in front of us and they offered to sit down so Woody could see, we told them not to worry we would be fine but they insisted on swapping seats with us so Woody had a great view. It was such an exciting afternoon and the atmosphere was electric at the end, a real carnival happening outside the Emirates. Woody even managed to get on the Beesotted podcast and had a good dance with lots of Bees fans.

A warm welcome from the Bee's to the Eagles as Crystal Palace join us for yet another big London Derby match. Woody will also be extremely pleased to greet Palace disabled fan Ellie, and we would ask any Bee's who see Ellie to make her especially welcome to our GTech.

Palace have a reputation as a club who do lots of good things in their community. The Palace for Life Foundation, their official charity, has been around for 25 years and aims to help young south Londoners grow through the power of sport and through their various programmes, it now works with over 13,000 people each year!

Their disabled programmes include Down's Syndrome, Powerchair, Visually impaired and Mental Health sessions under the banner of "Made In South London".

They host weekly indoor football training sessions for boys and girls with Down's Syndrome on football skills such as passing, dribbling and shooting whilst also improving on the fundamentals

of agility, balance and coordination. There's also the opportunity to go on and play for the DS Eagles in friendly matches and a national festival.

We have to say this clip from last year is one of the things that inspired us to come up with Woody Welcomes, when the DS Eagles got to go and hang out with the 1st team. Can you imagine what a thrill it must have been for the young people to get up close to their heroes like this, and not least meet their manager, legendary footballer, and French World Cup Winner Patrick Viera! It's just wonderful and especially when you see the players who just get it, and are so natural with their young fans.

We really like the fact that their excellent website has a whole series of their "success stories" on it, and it's great to see the human side of what these Clubs can achieve. Here's one lovely example:

And finally, although not strictly about the football club, there is a recent Palace-related story that we found really moving. Palace have a long term blogger called HLTCO - who has been doing blogs on the club for many years but anonymously. Well, last month he - Dan Cook - revealed his identity and why he had kept it a secret in a film he released where he told people he suffers from Cerebral Palsy and was nervous about getting abused because of his condition. The reaction to the post was massive and hugely supportive. Talk Sport's Breakfast host Laura Woods covered Dan's reveal story in a really excellent item. She also said something that we relate to so much:

"There is such a huge community of people inside the world of sport with disabilities who desperately want to be represented, and to be part of the conversation..."

Yes Laura!

Woody Welcomes....Crystal Palace!


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