Town venue for company’s fun national tournament

Participants, organisers and helpers at the recent Unified Sports tournament that took place in Morpeth.
Participants, organisers and helpers at the recent Unified Sports tournament that took place in Morpeth.

A big event to raise awareness and celebrate sporting achievement recently took place at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Morpeth.

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), in partnership with Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB), brought together staff from its local manufacturing sites in three UK locations to participate in the business’ annual Unified Sports tournament.

Unified Sports, an initiative of the Special Olympics charity, is inspired by the simple principle that training and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

They bring participants with and without intellectual disabilities together to compete on the same team.

The idea for CCEP to become involved with it was developed by Morpeth-based employee David Hunt and this particular event was the third of its kind as the tournament was launched in 2014.

The event at the Riverside Leisure Centre saw 30 CCEP employees take part – teams of 10 from the Morpeth, East Kilbride and Wakefield – alongside more than 30 athletes from Special Olympics clubs.

It covered a range of sports including six-a-side football, badminton, boccia, carpet bowls and swimming.

Mr Hunt, warehouse and facilities manager, said: “It was an absolute honour to host such a fantastic event here in Morpeth and to bring together local communities from across the UK through an initiative built upon teamwork, diversity and a mutual love of sport.”

Gearoid Mitchell, national volunteer manager for SOGB, also joined the fun and Morpeth Lions Club members were on hand to help with event logistics and refereeing.

Jane Buckley, operations director at CCEP in Morpeth, said: “For the third year running we were extremely pleased to see Morpeth represented alongside colleagues from other manufacturing sites across Great Britain, as well as athlete team members from Special Olympics clubs.”