Rita's sporting legacy will live on

PUBLISHED: 14:07 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:29 26 October 2009

WINNER: Rita Cotgrove’s Contribution to Disability Sport trophy was collected on her behalf by Adrian Moss, chairman of Kestrel Sports Club for the Disabled

WINNER: Rita Cotgrove's Contribution to Disability Sport trophy was collected on her behalf by Adrian Moss, chairman of Kestrel Sports Club for the Disabled

A FOUNDER of a disabled sports club in Welwyn Hatfield was honoured at the annual borough awards. Rita Cotgrove, who sadly died last year, was named the 2007 winner of the Contribution to Disability Sport. Despite being registered blind, the inspirational

A FOUNDER of a disabled sports club in Welwyn Hatfield was honoured at the annual borough awards.

Rita Cotgrove, who sadly died last year, was named the 2007 winner of the Contribution to Disability Sport.

Despite being registered blind, the inspirational Rita participated in sport and founded the Kestrel Sports Club for the Disabled 30 years ago with her husband Doug.

The club's two main sports over the years have been archery and bowls. Reverend Peter Louis said: "The archers are possibly the biggest symbols of the ethos that Rita engendered in the club members.

"Some members would never have believed that they could pull a bow, but have found they can, some by using specially made bow stands or even using their teeth."

He added: "The standard goes from absolute but enthusiastic beginner, through good competitive level, all the way to someone Kestrel are hoping might, just might, go to the Paralympics.

"All are welcome at the club because that is how Rita thought it should be."

Ian Currie, chairman of the new Eagles boccia bowls group and vice chair for Kestrels, also praised Rita's contribution to sport over the past three decades.

He said: "Rita's tireless effort and constant persistent enthusiasm brought smiles to faces to scores of the less able-bodied in the Welwyn Hatfield area."

Sports Person of the Year winner Gobi Ranganathan was the other inspirational candidate for the award.

A qualified Level 1 coach, Gobi was nominated for helping to raise the profile of disability badminton through the Knebworth club, which is based at the Gosling Sports Park in WGC.

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