The annual Lions’ “It’s a Special Knockout” challenge for those with special needs and learning difficulties in East Sussex was held at Bede’s School,Upper Dicker, on Sunday 13TH March. This special event , now in its 16th year is eagerly looked forward to by the various clubs and groups accompanied by family, friends and carers. The event is organised by Lions Clubs from Battle & Villages, Bexhill, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Rye and Uckfield.

Bexhill was represented by Bexhill Gateway Club and The Willows.

 Prior to the official opening and to get everybody into an energetic and fun mood, the Sussex Sparks Cheerleaders gave an enthusiastic display which was really enjoyed by all in the hall. Hailsham Town Crier, Lion Geoff Rowe then officially opened the event with the ringing of his bell.

This year some 110 contestants in 12 teams played 8 games, each of which was organised by a Lions Club, assisted by a number of upper and lower sixth form students from Bede’s School. The games included relay races as well as the ever popular team games including “Dinner for 6”, “Duckpond”, “Hang out the Washing”, “Hockey sticks” and “Postman Pat”. All accompanied with lots of vocal encouragement  from friends and family.

The event was supported by the presence of Mayors from several local towns;  Cllrs. Maurice Watson (Bexhill), Janet Coles (Eastbourne), Louise Eastwood (Uckfield) and Nigel Coltman (Hailsham).They were fully involved in the games and showed a competitive streak on numerous occasions.

During the interval, all enjoyed a second performance by The Sussex Sparks Cheerleaders followed by a disco run by Lion Kevin Hawkins. It was amazing that competitors, Mayors and Lions still had the energy to join in.

Bexhill Lions’ Honorary Member, Olympic Ice Dancer and Gold Medal winner Jayne Torvill OBE came along to the event and mixed with the contestants, signing autographs and posing for photographs.

This year the Team Poster Competition had the theme “1066” -celebrating the 900 year anniversary. These were made by each Club, together with their own Joker Cards. The standard for both competitions was very high, which gave a real challenge to the judges; the Mayors, Jayne Torvill and Lions Zone Chairman Richard Winrow.

The Joker card competition was won by Phab from Uckfield and the Team Poster Competition was won by Bexhill.

Lion Kevin Hawkins was the MC for this competitive but fun packed and highly enjoyed afternoon. The results team were kept on their toes keeping up with events, timings and team scores.

All teams competed as hard as they could and after a well-fought competition,  the winners were Jemini Lions from Hailsham, second prize went to Grove Park Giants from Crowborough and third prize was won by Conquerors from The Willows Bexhill.

All the participants received medals and certificates. These were presented by the Mayors, Jayne Torvill and Lions Regional Chair Keith Mates. The three winning teams received a “Special Knockout trophy.”

The prize, sponsored by Bede’s School for “Spirit of the Knockout” is awarded for the team showing endeavor, sportsmanship, and enthusiasm and is voted on by the Bede’s pupils. They presented the trophy to the winners, Jemini Lions from Hailsham. Eastbourne came second and joint third were Bexhill and Phab B from Uckfield.

Comments from the students included ” They are really enjoying themselves and it’s just great to see the smiles on all the contestants’ faces.”  “They are having such a great day and we are delighted to be able to volunteer and be part of it. Back to school work tonight!!”

The Lions thanked Bede’s School for again allowing their facilities to be used for this very special competition, as well as the support of the Upper and Lower 6th students who helped on the day. The Lions were also grateful to the help given by ASDA in Hailsham for their contribution of bottles of water.

Comments from the teams included “Thank you all so much for yet another marvelous fun filled day.”  ” The team thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are already looking forward to next year’s event.”  “This is such a great day, not only for the contestants but also the carers and family, well done all you Lions.”

In closing the competition the event organiser Lion David Burstow, said: “What a great day….This has been another successful Special Knockout, where teams have been  competitive, but have also had a lot of fun taking part. My thanks to all the family members and carers for being here today giving your support and joining in. As Lions Clubs we love putting on the event and I would also like to thank my Fellow Lions, over 40 of them from the different Clubs, for their time and help in making this such a well attended and popular event. We look forward to seeing you all again in 2017. ”

If you are interested in participating in next years event contact Lion David Burstow on 07703 354569.

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