A Blackpool school pupil is making his dream of representing his country at football a reality through a series of impressive sporting achievements.
Bailey Pack, a 15-year old Highfield Leadership Academy student from South Shore has a visual impairment, but he’s not let it stop him from pursuing his sporting dreams.
Classified by British Blind Sport as a B3 registered player for football, Bailey has honed his competitive spirit by participating in the largest youth sporting event in the county, the SPAR Lancashire School Games, since primary school in sports including athletics, swimming and football.
Designed to give all children the opportunity to participate in competitive sport, the SPAR Lancashire School Games county finals event was held at Stanley Park in Blackpool on July 5, where over 1600 youngsters from 15 Lancashire districts battled it out in sports including netball, rounders, cricket and tennis to be crowned county champions.
Outside of school sport, former Marton Primary Academy pupil Bailey plays for the North West Centre of Excellence for Visually Impaired (VI) and Hearing Impaired (HI) in the right wing position, having tasted glory twice as part of the National Cup winning side and was also selected to attend the England Elite Talent Centre this season.
He has also been awarded the Quayle Shield as part of the Blackpool Community Sports Awards, which recognises the town’s most talented youngsters to have represented their region in a sport.
Bailey credits participating in competitive sport from a young age with equipping him with the motivation to succeed. He said: “Taking part in the SPAR Lancashire School Games has really taught me how important it is to keep motivated while continuing to challenge yourself, improve fitness and technical ability. I’ve also learnt that it’s key to have fun and enjoy sport, whatever level you’re playing at.”
In terms of future sporting ambitions, Bailey is characteristically aiming high with a goal of playing for the England Visually Impaired team at international level.
“One of the things I love about playing football is embracing challenges, and it’s also a great way to keep fit. I’d like to stay involved in the game for as long as I can, and my ultimate aspiration is to captain the England Visually Impaired team one day.”
Dave Rohman, who is the schools games organiser for the Blackpool district, added: “Bailey is a confident young man who has proven his sporting prowess on several occasions, having had the opportunity to hone his skills since being a youngster at primary school and now at secondary school too. I’m confident he will use what he has learnt to go far and achieve his sporting ambitions.”
Organised by the Lancashire Local Organising Committee (LOC) in partnership with Lancashire Sport Partnership, the SPAR Lancashire School Games is implemented by the county’s school games organisers and sponsored by James Hall & Company Ltd, SPAR distributors for the North of England.