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Olympians prepare deaf children for the games

November 05, 2010
Deaf youngsters from South Tyneside have been getting on their marks.

The children, aged five to 16, are enjoying the benefit of being coached each week by two Olympians, Jason Steadman and Lauren Feffer.

Jason has represented the UK in the Deaflympics at 100m.

And his fiancée Lauren won gold for the nation in the 800m at Melbourne in 2005 when she was just 16. At the same games, she also took silver in the 1500m.

The sessions, at Monkton Stadium in Jarrow, were organised by Marion Fearon, Jill Storey and their colleagues, who are all youth workers with the Gateshead and South Tyneside Deaf Children's Society.

Jill said: "The aim is to get deaf children involved in athletics and other activities. Next week we have a deaf magician, then hopefully a deaf illustrator and writer. They're all working beside the kids.

"This event wouldn't happen if we didn't have funding from the Grassroots organisation – which gives funding to groups like this – and a local company called Buy As You View, which also contributed.

One of the olympians involved, Jason, 29, is from Biddick Hall. His full-time job is kitchen fitting.
He has also competed for the UK in the European Athletics Championships for the deaf. He is enjoying coaching the kids.

He said: "We would like to do this in the future with more deaf children.

"That's our aim. I would like to travel the world with them. It would be great if this kind of thing could be allowed to grow."

Lauren, 21, is from Edinburgh. She met Jason on the athletics circuit.

She said: "It's fantastic getting the kids involved, especially the ones who don't usually get involved in sports.

"It's a good opportunity for them to do athletics in all the different events."

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