stephenmillerTriple Paralympic champion Stephen Miller and wheelchair fencing star Gemma Collis are among the athletes set to headline the next ParalympicsGB Sports Fest, which the British Paralympic Association (BPA) today announced will take place at Durham University on Thursday March 5.

Sports Fest is a free multi-sport event for disabled people which attracts visitors from far and wide. The event, aimed at sports fans from across the North East, including Newcastle, Tyneside, Sunderland, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and Cumbria, offers people a unique opportunity to discover more about disability sport and invites them to try it for themselves.

Sports Fest aims to capture the enthusiasm and excitement sparked by the London 2012 Paralympic Games and the record-breaking success of British Paralympians at Sochi 2014. Sports Fest promises attendees the opportunity to ‘meet the medallists, try the sports, get inspired’.

Since London 2012, more than 2,500 people across the UK have attended one of these festivals of Paralympic sport. Sports Fest North East, hosted by The Graham Sports Centre at Maiden Castle, Durham University, will be the fifth event in the series and it marks the first time that the event has come to the region.

Miller, who trains in Gateshead, is one of GB’s most experienced track and field athletes with five Paralympic appearances to his name.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to Sports Fest in Durham and I’m proud to be named as an athlete ambassador when the event comes to the North East for the first time.

“Whether you’re curious to see whether you might have what it takes to be a Paralympian or if you’re just keen to make sport and exercise part of your everyday life, Sports Fest is a great way to get started. With so many sports on offer you can try a whole range of activities, find out what you enjoy and pick up top tips from coaches and athletes.”

Collis, a Durham University undergraduate student who made her Paralympic debut at London 2012 and won two world cup bronze medals in 2014, was also delighted to be an athlete ambassador for the event.

She said: “Whether you’re completely new to disability sport or are looking for some inspiration and ideas to take things up a level, Sports Fest is your chance to see what sport can do for you.

“This is an event which is open to people of all ages and impairments and everyone will receive a warm welcome when they come through the doors at Sports Fest. I’d really encourage people to seize this opportunity and sign up to attend.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the BPA, added:

“I’m really pleased to be starting 2015 with the news that we are taking Sports Fest to the North East. The event is an important part of the work that we do to inspire and encourage participation and promote opportunities to get involved in disability sport.

“We have recognised that the performances of our athletes on the field of play can often be the inspiration for disabled people to get more active, and I’m thrilled that Stephen Miller and Gemma Collis are signed up as ambassadors for the event as they are both brilliant role models for their sports.”

In addition to trying out a wide range of Paralympic sports, visitors to Sports Fest can also come along to meet the medallists sessions, where they can put their questions to athletes, have their photos taken and collect autographs.

Sports Fest North East will take place at Durham University, The Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle, Durham and the doors will be open from 10:00 – 17:00.

To find out more information about the event or to register to attend, visit www.sportsfest.uk.com.