Surrey hosted their most successful Disability Day at The Oval to date on Tuesday.
The event offered participants from across the county a great day out and a chance engage in other sports aside from cricket throughout the day from 10am until 2pm.
The Oval welcomed 603 students and 72 participants into the historic ground with 266 adult helpers.
Over 100 volunteers were on hand throughout the day delivering aspects of the event working alongside fully qualified Surrey Cricket Foundation coaches and organisers from the Surrey County Disability cricket sides consisting of learning and physical, visually impaired and hearing impaired.
Surrey’s Cricket Participation Officer Gavin Reynolds highlighted its importance and value in lives affected by disabilities which can be combatted through the use of cricket and play.
Reynolds said: “Hopefully it gives the public more of an understanding of different situations in life and what we can all do to help others.”
The events success has been evident in the growing numbers which have increased in the past few years.
The action-packed day involved various games and activities around the ground including; batting, bowling and fielding skill challenges on the outfield, the Batfast simulator and meeting Surrey Mascot Caesar the Lion whilst providing attendees with the opportunity of a tour around the Oval.
Reynolds added: “They have carousel type activities and they try their hand at some bowling using a bowling frame to really improve their accuracy, batting stations to try and get the ball into different zones as you would replicate in a real game of cricket.
“A lot of fielding and catching games as well, really improving their ability to throw, running around, all those sorts of activities that are going to help you if you were involved in any cricket games.
“We are very fortunate that we have got access to the pitch, every year for our annual event and the feedback from some of the teachers, for some of these kids they are never going to get this opportunity again.
“They might only have one try at this and they really wanted to come down today, play on the hallow turf and try their luck at some of the skills.
“From walking around today you can hear the whoops and the chants from the kids as they are achieving a challenge that was unachievable or a certain goal, they give themselves a target and they are achieving those.
“Really, it’s all about personal best and trying your best.”
Of the 675 students and participants from over 44 schools and groups, 77.5% of those have SEN disabilities including Asperger’s or autism.
Among the skills participants learn, teamwork, determination and confidence levels were at the top of the list.
Surrey Cricket Foundation director of cricket participation Paul Taylor said: “Disabilities Day is making cricket accessible to as many people as possible, no matter what disabilities they may have.
“We are using cricket to get them active, but it is about being active and improving their health and fitness as well.
“Skills that the children learn from the activities are mainly from agility and, but they are also catching and throwing.
“Some of the attributes they get from the day is improving their self-esteem and confidence, we always get a lot of feedback around that, so children who are shy and withdrawn, this day helps them come out of their shells.
“We have definitely got some case studies in recent history of people that would never leave the house, but as a result of coming to days like this they now get themselves around independently which makes a huge difference to their lives.
“That is what we are about. It’s about changing lives and cricket is a great vehicle for that.”
Surrey Cricket Foundation Trustee David Gill added: “Disability Day is really important at Surrey Cricket club at both a profession and amateur level, recreational level, we are an inclusive club.
“Cricket is and should be a game for everybody and that’s why we are especially proud today to see so many young disabled people taking part in this very special game.
“We hope that many of them will continue that as a lifelong habit, either as a spectator and if possible as a player as well.
“We would love to encourage people to take part in active participation whatever their abilities or disabilities.”