Therapy dog volunteer from Ely gathers together ‘group of amazing dogs and handlers’ to take part in special day at USAF Mildenhall
PUBLISHED: 18:54 23 September 2018 | UPDATED: 18:54 23 September 2018
What local volunteer Amanda Wall described as “a group of amazing dogs and handlers” were guests of the US Air Force at Mildenhall on Saturday.
The base was hosting more than 150 special-needs athletes from across England at the 37th Annual Joan Mann Special Sports Day this coming weekend.
It began with the lighting of the Olympic torch and the “Parade of Athletes,” followed by 12 different sporting events including the basketball shoot, obstacle course and wheelchair slalom. Afterward, medals were awarded.
In addition to the sporting events, the day, featured bagpipers and therapy dog demonstrations.
Mayor of Ely Cllr Mike Rouse said: “Congratulations to Amanda for arranging to have the therapy dogs at the event.
“The dogs and their owners came not just from locally but as far away as the Wirrall and Bedfordshire and Norfolk. They proved hugely popular with everyone.”
Highfield students from Littleport were among those taking part and the school said “thank you to the staff who gave up their time to support the event”.
More than 600 volunteers, airmen and dependents from RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell, helped stage the event/
“Team Mildenhall is proud to host this event for our UK friends and neighbours who come out to enjoy a day of sports and activities,” said Col Robert Shelton, 100th Operations Group commander.
“After 37 years this event is just as much a part of our heritage as our flying mission. It’s an amazing experience not only for the participants, but for all the airmen and families that have the opportunity to give back to the community that has been so welcoming.”
This day is named after Joan Mann, a Ministry of Defence employee who worked in the public affairs office.
She conceived the special sports day as a way to not only offer special-needs people of all ages a day of fun, but also to draw the civilian and military communities’ closer together.