Rhys wins sport­ing hon­our

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - SCHOOL NEWS -

Dum­fries High School

An in­spi­ra­tional Dum­fries High School pupil has been named Dis­abil­ity Sports Per­son of the Year at the Niths­dale Sports Coun­cil awards on Fri­day night.

Sev­en­teen-year-old Rhys, who is in S6 at the Dum­fries school, was nom­i­nated not only for his achieve­ments whilst swim­ming with a dis­abil­ity but also for his char­i­ta­ble work.

Last year Rhys raised more than £1,000 for the Yorkhill Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Glas­gow to raise aware­ness of PraderWilli syn­drome which af­fects the fam­ily of one of his teach­ers.

“I did a 45-mile spon­sored swim be­cause I wanted to do some­thing to help and to make peo­ple more of aware of the ill­ness,” said Rhys.

Rhys, who has Autism and Asperger’s, has been swim­ming com­pet­i­tively with the Dum­fries Dol­phins since he was nine.

He is very open about the fact that the swim­ming has helped him man­age his con­di­tions whilst also help­ing him to feel more con­fi­dent with his peers.

He said: “I train six days a week, morn­ing and night, and I re­ally like the struc­ture of my day.

“It doesn’t mat­ter how tired I am, I will al­ways be at train­ing. I think that I am proof that there should be no ob­sta­cles in any­body’s way.

“We can all be the best that we can be, we just have to work hard and not give up.”

Rhys’ mum and gran­dad were on hand to see him given his prize last Fri­day night at the Lore­burn Hall.

The in­spi­ra­tional teen who will leave school next sum­mer now hopes to be­come a PE teacher so that he can pass on his pas­sion for sport to the next gen­er­a­tion.

Bronze medal for Kieran A sec­ond year pupil from Dum­fries High School won a bronze medal at the Mixed Martial Arts com­pe­ti­tion in Swindon last week­end.

Kieran, who has been do­ing mixed martial arts since he was six, won third place in the spar­ring com­pe­ti­tion.

“I am re­ally proud of my achieve­ments so far,” said Kieran. “I’m work­ing to­wards some­thing quite big in the com­ing years but I can’t say what it is yet. This bronze medal is a great start to that jour­ney.”

Cur­rently Kieran has a red belt but is hop­ing to gain a black belt over the next two years.

In Swindon he was awarded a bronze medal in the spar­ring cat­e­gory. This in­volves two fighters squaring up to each other in the ring.

Kieran trains three nights a week and says it is a phys­i­cally de­mand­ing sport.

“I like the struc­ture and the dis­ci­pline that is in­volved in martial arts. It also keeps me phys­i­cally fit,” he added.

De­men­tia-friendly Dum­fries High School is one of the first in the re­gion to be recog­nised as be­ing de­men­tia-friendly af­ter its S6 stu­dents un­der­went train­ing from Alzheimer Scot­land.

The school was cel­e­brated for its in­volve­ment with Alzheimer Scot­land’s De­men­tia Friendly Com­mu­ni­ties project when its pupils re­ceived their cer­tifi­cates at a cer­e­mony last week.

The project has seen young peo­ple sup­port older peo­ple to use the in­ter­net for the first time for bank­ing, emails and search­ing for prod­ucts and ser­vices such as per­sonal aids and care homes.

Over the five weeks lead­ing up to the Oc­to­ber break, the S6 pupils all un­der­took train­ing from Jill Ren­nie of Alzheimer Scot­land in order for the school to work in part­ner­ship to help cre­ate a De­men­tia Friendly Com­mu­nity in Dum­fries and Gal­loway.

Teacher Marie Weir, fa­cil­i­ta­tor of the scheme, said: “Our S6 pupils are now proud sup­port­ers of De­men­tia Friends Scot­land.

“All of this can only have a pos­i­tive ef­fect in terms of im­prov­ing knowl­edge of de­men­tia while con­tribut­ing to as­sist­ing in other im­por­tant ar­eas such as re­duc­ing so­cial iso­la­tion and lone­li­ness.”

Train­ing day S6 stu­dents with their cer­tifi­cates Mixed martial arts Kieran with his bronze medal

Well done The S6 co­hort proudly dis­play­ing their cer­tifi­cates with trainer Jill Ren­nie of Alzheimer Scot­land

Con­grat­u­la­tions Rhys be­ing pre­sented with his Dis­abil­ity Sports Per­son of the Year award

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