Olympic Dream Comes True For Ryan With Help From His Fellow Students

Football star Ryan Anstey is on his way to represent Team GB at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi this March with the help of a £500 donation from his fellow New College Durham students.

Ryan, who is studying catering and hospitality at the College, was delighted when he successfully secured a place on the Team GB football squad. However, as disability athletes receive no funding at all, Ryan had to raise £2,500 to cover the cost of participating in the games.

When Ryan’s peers at New College Durham learnt of his cause, they were only too happy to help. The Foundation Studies students run a Breakfast Club and a café in the college selling drinks, snacks and hot food to raise money for charity.  They decided they would like to donate the proceeds from these enterprises to help Ryan fulfil his dream.

Heather Keel, Lecturer in Education and Supported Learning, said:

“Ryan started his college journey on Foundation Studies and is a regular visitor to Café 50, so when the students found out that he had been selected to represent Great Britain they all wanted to help get him there. We are all extremely proud of his achievements.”

Now, with the help of a £500 donation from the College, and the funds raised from his JustGiving page, Ryan is currently training with the GB football team in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates ready for the games to start on 14 March.  Ryan said:

“I’m really looking forward to the games. Not everyone has the chance to represent their country, so it’s a real honour to be chosen. I would like to thank everyone at New College Durham for their help and support.”

The talented right winger is hoping to add to the two gold medals he previously earned at the Special Olympics GB National Games, Sheffield in 2017 and at the Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games, Scotland in 2018.

Ryan, from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, also plays for Beamish Dynamos, a special needs football team. Bobby Coltman and Anthony Marsden, who coach the Dynamos, have been selected as head coach and coach, for the GB football squad.

The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement. It takes place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from March 14–21, 2019.