A YOUNG athlete from Upton has been given a special send-off by Prime Minister David Cameron before heading to Greece later this month to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympics.
Declan Kelly, 19, will play for the men’s unified football team at the World Summer Games in Athens.
The former St Werburgh’s RC and Overleigh St Mary’s CE primary pupil joined six other Team GB members for a meeting with the PM at 10 Downing Street on Monday.
Also in attendance were world champion gymnast and fellow Cestrian Beth Tweddle, former GB sprinter Darren Campbell and chairman of Special Olympics GB, Lawrie McMenemy.
Declan’s mum Maighread and dad Paul, who also have a daughter Fionnuala, 17, accompanied their son to London and joined him at a special reception with the Greek ambassador in Mayfair.
Declan, who works at Tesco, said: “It is a real honour to represent Great Britain at the games. David Cameron asked me what position I played and later I got to head a ball in front of Number 10.”
Maighread added: “It was fantastic. We were invited in to have a look around No 10 and David Cameron spoke to each of the athletes.
“Declan spoke to Beth Tweddle about living and training in Chester. Obviously we are absolutely thrilled for him. He puts his heart and soul into it and has been rewarded.”
Declan, who has had learning difficulties since birth, attended Oaklands school in Winsford for his secondary education. He started playing football eight years ago with a Special Olympics group in Ellesmere Port.
He was named as the Cheshire West and Chester Council Disabled Sports Person of the Year in 2010.
Declan will be part of a 150-strong Great Britain team that will fly to Greece on Sunday, June 19. They will be joined by 58 volunteer coaches, and will compete against 7,000 athletes from 180 countries.
Unified football is programme that places footballers with disabilities (athletes) on the same team as footballers without disabilities (partners).