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Calmore play park renamed in honour of local Paralympian Aaron Phipps

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A PLAY park in Calmore has been renamed in honour of a local Paralympian who won a gold medal in the Team GB wheelchair rugby team.

The park, which has inclusive equipment, is next to Calmore Infant and Junior schools which Aaron Phipps attended as a youngster.

In recognition of his achievements, the town council decided to rename the facility as the Aaron Phipps MBE children’s play park.

Cllr Neville Penman and Aaron at the renaming ceremony
Cllr Neville Penman and Aaron at the renaming ceremony

Crowds gathered at the official unveiling which was attended by councillors as well as local pupils and the public.

Speaking at the event, Totton and Eling Town Council chair Cllr Neville Penman said: “It gives me great pleasure to honour one of our own.

“We are here with Aaron Phipps MBE, our very own Paralympic gold medal winner, to unveil the plaque which identifies this inclusive play park in his name.

“When you go through the golden gate into the play area you can remember our local hero who has done so much to honour our community and town.”

The event coincided with Aaron’s 39th birthday, so he was presented with a cake and the crowd sang Happy Birthday.

As reported in the A&T, Aaron and his teammates etched their names into the history books by storming to the top of the podium in Tokyo last year with victory over the USA in a final watched by more than 1-million UK viewers.

The performance delivered Team GB’s first gold in a team sport in the Paralympics, and it was the first for a European nation in wheelchair rugby.

Aaron is an ambassador for the Meningitis Research Foundation, having suffered at the age of 15 with meningitis C and meningococcal septicaemia.

He survived but the disease meant both his legs and most of his fingers had to be amputated.

The town council also plan to unveil a golden bench in his honour in the town centre later this year.

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