Film ID: NEFA 10878 PERCY HEDLEY SCHOOL 1970 Visitor TabsDescription An extended Tyne Tees Television news report on the importance of physical exercise and sport for pupils with Cerebral Palsy at Percy Hedley School in Newcastle. Filmed mainly at Cochrane Park in Newcastle during the 1970 North East Spastic Games, the film shows many of the pupils participating in various field events such as shot put, javelin as well as wheelchair slalom. These sequences are intercut with interviews with the school's head teacher, David Johnston, and the coach, Alan Brown, who talk about why sport is important and discuss some of the school's more successful pupils. The film opens on a young boy in a wheelchair completing a slalom course laid out in chalk on the ground. The film cuts to a field where four girls, one in a wheelchair, are standing against a brick wall. Each of them throws a shot, three of the girls gather up the shots and throw them again. The film cuts again to an exterior of Percy Hedley School. A number of pupils sit on the grassed area out front. On another grassed area a number of boys are seen practicing their events. A boy throws a discus and falls over. Another boy throws a club. The film cuts to show the pavilion and field at Cochrane Park in Newcastle during the North East Spastics Games. There are views of competitors either competing in or watching from outside the pavilion. A competitor, Norman Burns, throws a javelin. A female judge rushes out to record the throw with a tape measure. Norman throws again. Interview with Alan Brown, Percy Hedley School Coach. He says that in the past ten years the school have produced a number of exceptional pupils like Norman. From the waist up he is probably stronger than many able bodied athletes. The film cuts back to Cochrane Park and the North East Spastics Games where wheelchair athlete David Forshaw is seen holding one of the chairs footrests. There is a view of the back of the chair which is ripped. David is interviewed and says he did it while competing as a discus thrower. General views of judges and competitors on the field. Interview with the Coach Alan Brown on the field who says that the Percy Hedley team is doing exceptionally well. He has seen an improvement in performance in the past few years because of increased motivation, longer and better training and greater dedication. Interview with David Johnston, Head Teacher at the Percy Hedley School at Cochrane Park. He talks about seeing former pupils again at events such as these and the employment opportunities for those leaving the school. Along the driveway of a building, a large crowd watch three competitors in wheelchair take part in a race. Sitting on the kerb watching are three young people. Interview in an office with David Johnston about the schools feeling of happiness. He says it is down to the democratic nature of the school and that people care for one another. Outside in a large garden area a man shows a boy how to throw a javelin. The boy throws it and it lands within a chalk circle on the grass. Three girls throw a shot. The film cuts to show a girl in a wheelchair make her way along a path beside a building She reverses her chair into a marked area on the ground and moves off again. General views of more pupils in a garden throwing clubs. Back in the office David Johnston talks about other disabled athletics clubs in the region. Outside in the driveway another wheelchair race gets underway watched by a large crowd. A man drops his handkerchief and three competitors race towards a line marked near the end of the driveway. One of the competitors is travelling backwards. The winner crosses the finish line. Two other wheelchair users race along the driveway, one of them is David Forshaw. The film cuts back the office David Johnston who talks about the perceptions of disabled people. Back in the garden a line of seven children, two in wheelchairs, are seen throwing discus and club. The film cuts to a field with a small group standing in the distance. There is a third wheelchair race filmed on the driveway. One of the competitors is Dennis Stokes who is described by Alan Brown as a national and European champion. He races at considerable speed and crossing the line. In an office an interview with Alan Brown about Dennis. As he speaks the film cuts back to Dennis completing the wheelchair slalom in his specially modified wheelchair. The film cuts to a young girl in a wheelchair who throws a club using her foot. She then uses her foot to pick up and throw a second club. The film cuts back to Alan Brown who talks about the different handicapped groups that are taking part in the games. General views of variously disabled pupils throwing discus and club. Some are in wheelchairs and throw their objects over their shoulders while others are standing. In a group there are views of the Percy Hedley competitors wearing red and white tracksuits. One shirt has the initials PHS stitched on the back. The film cuts back to Alan Brown who dismisses the fears some people have that competition is someway dangerous to the disabled. The film cuts to David Johnston who says that it is tremendous that the school has children who are national as well as European champions. The final part of the film is a montage of views of the competitors taking part in a variety of events including javelin, wheelchair slalom, discus and shot put. There are shots of some of the crowds including a number of able-bodied school girls in their school blazers. The film ends with two men talking with a shot put competitor. Context Sports for all Disabled children doing slaloms, throwing javelins, gaining confidence and changing perceptions. At the pioneering Percy Hedley school for children with cerebral palsy, children practice a variety of sports and compete in the North East Spastic Games at Cochrane Park in Newcastle. Head Teacher David Johnston outlines the progressive principles of the school, and points to European champion Dennis Stokes, demonstrating his considerable skills in a wheelchair, as an example. He is backed up by coach Alan Brown, who points out the benefits of sport for the children. Percy Hedley School was set up by a group of parents in 1953, with help from the Percy Hedley Foundation, especially for children with cerebral palsy. Several years previously, in 1948, neurologist Dr Ludwig Guttmann, based at the rehabilitation unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, organised a competition for war veterans with spinal injuries to coincide with the London Olympics. This became established in 1960 in Rome, becoming the Paralympics in 1964. This is the background that helped form the vision of Percy Hedley School, which continues today. The word ‘spastic’, originally a medical term, became increasingly seen as a derogatory one and generally ceased to be acceptable in the 1980s.