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Albion in the Community’s (AITC) disability manager is taking part in the charity’s Seagulls Santa Dash on Sunday wearing a blindfold.

Paul Brackley has worked for AITC since 2009 and co-ordinates the delivery of AITC’s inclusive football sessions for people with a disability.

The charity currently runs 25 regular sessions for people with a disability and more than 250 people regularly attend the charity’s football sessions. AITC also now has around 20 different teams that compete...

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Taking on the Seagulls Santa Dash blindfolded to raise money and awareness

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Albion in the Community’s (AITC) disability manager is taking part in the charity’s Seagulls Santa Dash on Sunday wearing a blindfold.

Paul Brackley has worked for AITC since 2009 and co-ordinates the delivery of AITC’s inclusive football sessions for people with a disability.

The charity currently runs 25 regular sessions for people with a disability and more than 250 people regularly attend the charity’s football sessions. AITC also now has around 20 different teams that compete in local, regional or national leagues.

Sessions can cost between £3,000 and £5,000 a year to run and much of AITC’s fundraising efforts go towards supporting the charity’s inclusive football programme.

The charity also delivers disability awareness training to local schools, colleges, universities and businesses – training that often includes a blind guiding exercise that is similar to what Paul will experience during the 2.1k run around the stadium.

Paul, who will be guided on the day by long-term AITC supporter Malcolm Thorpe, said: “We are incredibly fortunate at AITC to receive the support we do – particularly in the area of fundraising. As the charity’s disability manager I experience first-hand the impact that fundraising can have on the people we work with.

“I wanted to do something personally to help our fundraising team and was challenged to do the Seagulls Santa Dash blindfolded. I have done some training with the blindfold and have complete faith in Malcolm to guide me round.

“It is important, however, to remember that while it will be a test and a different experience for me personally, for many of our participants facing challenges with a visual impairment, or completely blind, is a reality of every-day life.”

Emma Brockhurst, AITC’s fundraising executive, organises the annual festive family fundraiser and said she was delighted that Paul would be taking part.

She said: “At AITC we try and make our fundraising events and challenges as inclusive as possible so it is fantastic that Paul is taking part blindfolded. Not only will he hopefully raise some money for the charity but he will also raise awareness of the challenges facing some of the people who regularly attend our inclusive football sessions.”

Anyone who would like to take part in Sunday’s Seagulls Santa Dash can still sign-up, either online at www.seagullstickets.com, or at the American Express Community Stadium from 2pm.

Adults are given a blue and white Santa suit to take part in, while the first 100 children to sign-up will receive an exclusive Brighton & Hove Albion Christmas scarf that is not available to buy in the club shop.

Finishers are also given a goody bag and a medal and entry is just £12.50 for adults and £10 for Under 16s.

Paul can be sponsored online at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paulbrackleysantadash.