PUPILS were strapped in to wheelchairs for the opening of Westrop Primary School’s new multi-games area yesterday.

Two members of the Swindon Shock basketball team were drafted in by headteacher Janet Urban to raise awareness of disability sport and the new opportunities open to pupils.

The court, which opened after a long campaign by the Highworth school, was funded by Section 106 cash from Taylor Wimpey, as a part of its building work in the town.

“We had hoped to have one for a very long time,” said Mrs Urban.

“Taylor Wimpey is doing some building in the local area and we managed to secure some of their Section 106 grant money.

“It’s extra playground space for the winter. We have plenty of grass, but it’s not great and doesn’t help when it’s muddy.

“It’s allowing more opportunities for sport during break times.

“It’s also nice to have ball games going on without hitting a little girl who’s skipping in the corner.”

Children from Key Stage Two, aged seven to 11, were put through their paces by the Shock players, and seemed to enjoy the fresh air, despite the slippery conditions.

Alfie, eight, said: “I thought it was fun and a bit hard. The pushing bit – you can’t grip on because it’s a bit slippy.”

Ruby, nine, said: “It was quite hard when you have got to grip onto the wheels. It’s good to get out of the classroom though.”

As a part of the work with Swindon Shock, the pupils were offered the chance to watch one of their games. Any match experience would only serve to reinforce the awareness raised yesterday.

Key Stage Two leader Dave Walters said: “(This is happening) so that children have an understanding of disability sport. This enforces how hard it is, how difficult the challenges involved are.”

Lewis Bird, of Swindon Shock, said: “It gives the chance to those kids to appreciate what wheelchair users go through on a day-to-day basis. It’s a chance to see there are sporting opportunities for people in wheelchairs.

“Most of the kids are not thinking about pushing a wheelchair, they are focusing on having fun.

“We see the wheelchair as a tool for sport, an extension of the body.”