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Norfolk wheelchair basketball club gets nearly £40,000 grant, after appearing on ITV this week

Stefan Self

Stefan Self

Archant copyright 2011

A Norfolk wheelchair basketball club has been awarded nearly £40,000 after capturing the public's imagination on ITV earlier this week.

Norfolk Elite Wheelchair Basketball Club was awarded the grant from the Big Lottery Fund as part of the The Jubilee People’s Millions competition, which has been running on ITV Anglia from Monday to Wednesday this week.

Each night, two local groups competed to win a Lottery grant of up to £60,000 for a community project which will open in 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.

The public voted by phone to decide the winner, and the club, which appeared on TV on Wednesday night, collected the cash as the runner-up that received the highest number of votes.

The club, which trains at Taverham High School each Saturday, will use the money to provide its members with permanent, individual wheelchairs so they can continue to provide a wheelchair basketball club.

The current wheelchairs are loaned and due to be returned and without new ones, the club won’t be able to continue. In Wednesday’s Evening News, Stefan Self, 21, pictured, who plays for the club, appealed for people to vote to help them win the prize.

Mr Self, who was paralysed from the waist down in a road crash, said today: “It’s great news. We did not think we would finish as runners-up, so it means everything to us. It means we can continue playing and should pay for 12 proper, new wheelchairs, as each one costs more than £3,000.”

The club was only set up in October 2010 and, while there is a youth team in the county, there was no adult team until then.

For Mr Self, who lives off Valpy Avenue, in Mile Cross, the team has given him his first chance to play competitive sport since he was in a car accident in November 2009.

The former Taverham High School pupil broke his back in two places and fractured it in five places, which damaged his spinal cord.

Through the Jubilee People’s Millions, the Big Lottery Fund will be making 60 awards of up to £60,000 to new projects that will take place in 2012 and improve local places or the lives of people in the community.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter David Bale on 01603 772427, or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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