The Downham Games is back on the community event agenda in Downham Market bigger and better than ever before. Following their success at KLFM West Norfolk Sports Awards in January where they got highly commended in the category Sports Event of The Year organisers are working hard to develop the successful formula from the last two years so that this annual event will provide the community with more opportunities and hopefully draw in a bigger crowd. Village Games Sports Coordinator Frances Rayner is really excited about this year’s games and has been overwhelmed by the amount of support coming in. Funds from West Norfolk Sports Council and Downham Town Council have been very welcome and additional sponsorship from the Eastern Daily Press and JK Construction Norfolk Ltd has meant that additional equipment can be purchased so that the Games become even more sustainable. Ryston Runners, Active Norfolk and Downham Market Leisure Centre are also supporting the event this year along with a group of volunteers who are enthusiastic and keen to see the event continue. ‘I had people approaching me this year to help out’ Frances said ‘which is fantastic and really shows how valued the event is becoming in the community. Getting nominated for Sports Event of the Year was incredible and we feel that we really have a formula that appeals to not only the community within Downham Market and the wider community but also the sporting community of West Norfolk .’ Frances went on to say that this remains a family community event and is a great opportunity for all ages and abilities to try something new or come and enjoy sports and activities that they already love.
Frances Rayner and Aaron Roberts Rural Sports Development Officer at Active Norfolk went along to speak to year 11 students at Downham Market Academy to find out how much they already knew about the Games and what the organisers can do to make it appealing to students from the Academy. ‘This was a very important exercise’ Frances said ‘ because it enabled us to gather ideas and views from probably the largest community within Downham Market and find out how we can work collaboratively to make the Games a further success. Aaron and I were really impressed with the ideas that came forward and learnt a lot from their opinions and will really value these in helping us to develop this year’s event. All of the group were keen to help ‘Like’ our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and could really see the value of this type of publicity. They also suggested we promote the event during PE sessions and worked with PE staff at the school to develop their athletic skills so that they came to the Games with a real competitive edge. Further work can definitely be done here with this group and we are really excited about the possibilities going forward.’
Ryston Runners are supporting the event again this year and will be coming along with volunteers from the club to help with the athletics competition. Ryston member and one of the Games founder members Peter Duhig told us ‘the Games are a great initiative to provide friendly competition for all the community. Whether you are young or older there is an opportunity for you to try your hand at a sporting challenge as well as many competitions and ‘come and try’ opportunities on the day. Every club and sportsperson in the district should be interested in the games, which are the realisation of the Olympic legacy in Downham Market.
This year’s games can be found at the Memorial Fields, Lynn Road, Downham Market on Sunday 25th May 2014 and starts at 10.30 am and ends at approximately 2.30pm. Free sports taster sessions will run from 11am – 1pm and include archery, golf, cricket, croquet, squash, football and tennis to name a few. The main theme of the games is the athletics event which can be either entered as a competition or just for fun. It is open to anyone age 8 years and over and there is a small charge for this event – £1 for children and £2 for those over the age of 17 years. This again starts at 11am and includes 6 events – 100m sprint, 400m run, standing long jump, standing high jump, javelin and shot putt. Everyone taking part will get a participation medal and there are trophies for those who come first and second in their age and gender category. Downham Market Leisure Centre will also be headlining the event with their tyre push challenge and mini triathlon competition – prizes to be awarded for winners.
You can follow The Downham Games on Facebook and Twitter where regular updates will keep you informed about what is happening leading up to the Games and on the day. For further information or if you would like to get involved you can contact Frances Rayner on 07802448836 or email her at [email protected].