Howard a step nearer Olympic dream
Aug 5 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
HOWARD Tomlinson’s Olympic dream has come a tiny bit closer.
The Mirfield sportsman would love to represent his country in the Paralympics.
And the table tennis star has been given a massive boost with funds to help his training schedule.
Kirklees mayor Clr Andrew Palfreeman called in at the Kirklees Pals (Practice Activity and Leisure Scheme) Art group at Huddersfield Library to present a cheque to Howard.
Howard is a member of the Pals art group, formed more than two years ago in a bid to promote mental well-being as well as physical health.
But officials soon discovered that Howard’s ability to paint was not his only talent.
The 34-year-old, who has Down’s syndrome, is one of six players who have been selected for the Team GB table tennis squad at the Special European Games which will be held in Warsaw in September.
He is currently ranked number 30 in Britain, but dreams of becoming a champion do not come cheap.
In order to compete in the event, he needs to raise the funds for his trip himself, which will be at least £900.
And to be able to compete at a serious level he also needs to attend regular training camps which take place across the country.
The cost for each of these can be in excess of £200.
His friends at the group were very excited to hear that he had been selected for the GB Squad and wanted to help him raise the much-needed funds.
Tom King, a founder member of the group, said: “Howard has been a member of our art workshop since it began.
“He often came in with pride to show us a medal or two he had just won.
“At first we all thought that it was just games he played at his care centre, but how wrong we were.
“We are all so proud of his achievements and we wanted to do all we can to help him raise the money he so desperately needs”.
Funding has also been given by Kirklees Council’s grant scheme, Skelmanthorpe Methodist Wives Group and the Lions Club of Huddersfield.
Howard also attends Kirklees Council Day Services four days a week.
Officials there are also looking at various ways to support Howard in the Olympics, including sponsoring events and a BBQ.
There will also be a raffle and an auction to again raise money in support of Howard’s Olympic Dream.
Prizes have been given by Huddersfield Town and the Giants as well as gym memberships from Kirklees Active Leisure and some original paintings which have been donated by the group.
Clr Palfreeman, who presented Howard with £859, said: “It is a great honour to present this cheque to help Howard on his way to great success.
“We will all be watching with interest to see how he progresses and I am sure he will make the people of Kirklees proud as well as the nation.”