Unsung hero: doting mother who championed disabled sports
A doting mother who has championed disabled sport in the borough for 40 years and was once threatened with imprisonment feels humbled by the reaction she gets from disabled sport stars.
Sue Frett, 73, set up a charity for people with learning disabilities more than 20 years ago to improve the life of others and her son, Jonathon, who has a learning disability.
With hard work and determination she managed to set up Reach out Youth and Adult Disabilities, a charity focused on helping people with learning disabilities.
She said: “Jonathan was bullied on many occasions and this resulted in me taking him out of school for more than six months.
“I was threatened with imprisonment if I didn’t send him back [but] I stood firm and waited to admit him into a school that I knew would be good for him. He is now 45 and has turned out to be a superb sportsman.
“All you have to do with disabled people is build up their confidence and their own self-esteem will walk along side by side with you. “I am now in my senior years and I still love the smiles on faces and the hugs I get when they do well – it makes you feel very humble.”
Mrs Frett, who lived in New Malden for 50 years, now heads up the Surrey Special Olympics branch, which launched in 2007 and fosters community sports for people with learning disabilities.
It also prepares athletes for inclusion into society, increases their chances of living independently and helps them make new friends or find a job.
As part of the programme Mrs Frett attended a 10-pin bowling tournament in Munich with four athletes who managed to win seven gold and one silver medals between them this month – she has pinpointed this as the highlight of all her disabled sporting work to date.
Mrs Frett said: “Only a few years ago these athletes would never have dreamed it possible that they would be playing for their country.
“They train and train to get to the high levels they achieve and it is nice for them to be recognised.”
Since the launch of the programme, sports now available to athletes with learning disabilities in the area include 10-pin bowling, golf, athletics, kayaking and even skiing.
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