Special Olympic swimmer made waves at music festival fund-raiser

Olympian swimmer Hannah Payton

Olympian swimmer Hannah Payton

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Special Olympic swimming champion Hannah Payton made a splash when she was guest of honour at DanceSyndrome’s music festival.

Hannah officially opened the event at Bartle Hall, showing the audience her medals and trophies, as well as photographs of herself in action.

The Maida Vales

The Maida Vales

She also talked about how important it was for DanceSyndrome’s dancers to be respected for what they do in the same way that she does, and talked about wanting to work together on future fund-raising efforts.

The festival, which was aimed at raising funds for DanceSyndrome and Clic Sargent, also marked the launch of the Everybody Dance project, funded by a £200,000 cash injection from Spirit of 2012.

The money will be used to continue its inclusive dance workshops and leadership training, enabling people with and without disabilities to enjoy dance sessions that cater for people of all ages and abilities.

Spirit of 2012 chief executive Debbie Lye travelled from London to speak at the event.

Debbie Lye, chief executive of the Spirit of 2012, Dawn Vickers, MD of DanceSyndrome, and Sue Blackwell, trustee and founder

Debbie Lye, chief executive of the Spirit of 2012, Dawn Vickers, MD of DanceSyndrome, and Sue Blackwell, trustee and founder

She spoke about the importance of “investing in happiness” and that activities provided by DanceSyndrome are vital to people with disabilities being truly included in society.

Following the speeches, guests enjoyed an afternoon of music. The Maida Vales performed two sets which packed the dance floor.

DanceSyndrome managing director Dawn Vickers joined the band on stage to sing The Beatles’ classic I Saw her Standing There and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode.

Some members of DanceSyndrome performed a new piece, I Hate You, I Love You, and the response was overwhelming.

Dancer Becky Rich and Jen Blackwell, who is one of the founders of DanceSyndrome

Dancer Becky Rich and Jen Blackwell, who is one of the founders of DanceSyndrome

Dawn Vickers says: “The event was really successful with 120 people attending to support DanceSyndrome.

“Our dancers have been working really hard to develop their performance skills and you can see that dedication is paying off.

“We are overwhelmed at the level of support we have seen at the festival and it proves that the work that DanceSyndrome is doing is genuinely making a difference to the lives of our participants and is inspiring many more people who see our dancers perform.

“We aim to expand on this now we have the funding from Spirit of 2012 and inspire and engage with even more people in Lancashire.”