On Monday of this week I celebrated UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This year saw me support the Purple Space ‘Purple Light Up’ campaign (www.purplespace.org/purple-light-up) which seeks to encourage organisations to illuminate their buildings purple or hold a purple themed event in recognition of IDPD.
To that end I spent the morning at West Park School, where a series of activities had been organised.
First up I delivered an assembly to the Year 7 pupils, many of whom were wearing purple accessories. As part of my presentation I showed the fantastic video made by Channel 4, who for the past few years have been excellent in promoting disabled people in a positive light.
Next up was a question and answer session with a group of students with special educational needs, which involved much discussion about my Olympic Torch which I’d taken into school.
At break time I found myself in the sports hall where a penalty shootout and basketball demonstration were taking place. I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a penalty and was mighty pleased (and relieved) to score!
As my visit drew to a close, I did another question and answer session, this time with representatives from the School Council. We discussed lots of topics including how I dealt with being bullied at school, my England football career and even my favourite fast food.
Before I left school there was just time for an interview with BBC Radio Derby. I was asked by the reporter how I felt my visit had gone and as I told him, it really couldn’t have gone any better.
Later in the day I headed to Derby City Centre to see the Council House in all its glory as it was most appropriately lit in purple in recognition of UN International Day of People with Disabilities.