Meet one of our ‘Healthy Goals for Life’ participants Sophie Butler. The 24 year-old from Bolton told us all about how she began participating in the sessions, how much she enjoys keeping active, as well as emphasising the social benefits of attending sessions with many other people with disabilities.
Name: Sophie Butler
Disabilities: Fanconi Anaemia, Hydrocephalus, Radial club hands, learning difficulties and severely deaf
What sport or exercise do you regularly take part in?
I am involved in activities through Bolton Wanderers Community Trust (BWCT) and Lancashire Cricket Foundation (LCF) in College, and I attend the Healthy Goals for Life (HGFL) group every wednesday evening in Bolton. I play the Super 1s cricket there.
Who do you usually take part with?
Other participants from the Healthy Goals for Life and Super 1s group in Bolton.
How and when did you start doing the activity?
Coaches from BWCT and LCF came into college before the summer and delivered some sessions and we played Cricket in Queens Park. I was throwing the ball and getting it as high as possible. I came to the club and did more activities. We did the dancing, archery and assault course. That was fun. I also did hula-hooping. I did fantastic, I didn’t stop!
What is it that you most enjoy about being active?
It helps me keep going, walking and doing different things. I like trying new things and getting better. I get fit and healthier, because its important. I have a lot of friends at the club, some of them are new friends. I never knew most of them, but now we are good friends and talk to each other in the week.
How does being active support you in your daily life/with everyday activities?
It gives me more confidence and makes me feel good. I come out my shell and try new things. It was funny last saturday at Water Park Outdoor Centre, I went higher on the Peter Pan! I look forward to the club, knowing I’m doing things I really love and I don’t want to stop doing it.
When you are taking part in exercise/sport, how does it make you feel during and afterwards?
During it I feel really good, more confident and not too scared to do it. I used to be scared that I’d get knocked out, if I couldn’t do something that friends could. Everyday challenges. I feel stronger now and I can look up to people who I trust. Afterwards I feel fantastic. When we went to Water Park I was excited. I achieved something I never thought I’d be able to. I was very proud of myself and told everybody at home and College. I absolutely loved getting higher and higher on the Peter Pan, I had three goes on it. I still talk about it. It’s the most fun I’ve had in my life, I really love it!
How important is the support of your friends, family or team mates?
It’s very good having friends at the club. They are very supportive. At cricket, they help me if I’ve not batted properly or they tell me to do it again, and show me again. whoever says something to me, I achieve more from it. I practice at home, outside of the club with my friends. I practice throwing the ball higher, faster and straight, and catching it.
What activities/sports or events have you got lined up over the coming year? Or are there some new activities you would like to try?
Hopefully a Cricket competition and try out other different activities/sports.
What would you say to other disabled people who are thinking about being more active and take up some form of exercise/sport, but aren’t sure?
It is very very good and it will help you in your life and support your needs. It can help you achieve what you want to. Its helped my confidence. Before it used to be ‘I can’t do it’ but now I try new things. Without regularly doing sport, it wouldn’t have made me develop that attitude. I’m like a different Sophie! Try your best and you can do it, and it is fun!
Going to the Water Park Outdoor Centre in the Lake district with the HGFL group helped me so much. I’ve been so excited to do other activities. Peter Pan is where you go in a harness and your friends lift you up in the air on a rope. You have a bell to ring if you don’t want to go any higher. I only used it once. I got more higher and higher. I kept going on every five minutes. It made me laugh. I kept pulling the rope when it was somebody else’s turn.
Rowing was really hard work (on rafted canoes on Coniston water), but I did it! It was fantastic. I would do it all again.
See Climbing pic below, where I was saying ‘I’ve done it!’