By LAUREN ROGERS
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Two local sporting champions have had their names inscribed forever on to the wall of Great Yarmouth’s Town Hall.
Paralympian swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate and wheelchair pool player Karl Read were guests of honour at the town hall last Thursday night when a small gathering celebrated the new additions to the borough’s ‘World Champions’ plaque.
Funded by the Great Yarmouth Sports Council and originally unveiled in January 2003, the wall-mounted plaque now celebrates the international sporting achievements of 11 people from the Yarmouth borough.
Pool champion Karl, who won the World Eightball Pool Federation (WEPF) wheelchair individual title in 2005 and again in 2006, said it was an honour to be included.
“I’m just a normal bloke,” said the 46-year-old father of two from Caister.
“It was quite a nice surprise when I realised my name would be up their permanently. I’m not exactly a celebrity.”
Karl started playing pool and snooker as a youngster. After his accident at the age of 26, he almost gave up his sporting hobby.
“I didn’t play for a long time,” he said.
“I went down the pub to try and play but, because I’d reached quite a good a standard before, I thought if I couldn’t play at a decent standard again there was no point.
“Eventually a mate of mine talked me into it and it went from there.”
Karl, who played in junior tournaments as a teenager and for the Norfolk county team in his early 20s, played his first games of wheelchair pool in 2005, quickly rising through the ranks of the region’s Monday night pool league, known locally as the DP Leisure league.
He entered the WEPF world championships in Blackpool - taking the title for individual wheelchair player for two years running.
He went on to play American pool, taking part in tournaments around the world.
“Unfortunately I’ve had additional problems connected to my injuries which have affected my right arm so I can no longer play, but I had a great time and I have some great memories.”
Seventeen-year-old Jessica-Jane, the Gorleston girl who won Gold at the 2012 Paralympic games, picked up her 2012 title during the London games and the 2013 title at the world championships in Canada.
Proud mum Dawn Applegate said it was another honour and a privilege to be added to the plaque.
To be added to the plaque, you must be “an international champion in your field” and with 11 names now on the wall, the marble sign - located inside the town hall - is full.
A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said it has yet to decide what it wants to do from this point to commemorate future sporting heroes.