TRAFFORD Centre for Independent Living celebrated the launch of the Paralympics in style with a colourful and vibrant open event.

People heard inspirational guest speakers, enjoyed healthy snacks and drinks and tested their own table tennis skills at the charity’s Sale base and learn more about the charity’s services.

Sophie Miles, CEO of Trafford CIL, welcomed guests including the Mayor and Mayoress of Trafford before introducing Mike Newman, the world’s fastest blind man on land and water, who told the audience how he overcame barriers to become a world record holder.

Mike joked he was “too old” to take part in the Paralympics but he said the global event can play a key role in changing negative attitudes to disability.

He said: “it shows the world that people with disabilities have the same sense of ambition, the same sense of determination and the same need to achieve and be successful. This event that we have every four years is a phenomenal shop window just to demonstrate that we are just people. People doing what people do and achieving what they can against the best there is.”

The former bank manager set up his own charity, Speed of Sight, to put people with disabilities of all ages in the driving seat to experience the thrill of motor sport.

Paddy Joe Moran, who has autism and dyslexia, was the next guest speaker. Paddy has written a column for The Guardian about his treatment at the hands of health professionals and he also spoke about his latest book, Communicating Better with People on the Autism Spectrum.

Jasmine Stagg, with the support of her mum, Liz, completed the trio of guest speakers. Jasmine has successfully completed her lifeguard training and has also competed alongside Paralympic swimmers as part of Special Olympics GB team.

A raffle, DVD sale and the sale of tea and coffee raised more than £140 for Trafford CIL. Jules Kennedy, the charity’s TDAN co-ordinator, said she would like to thank Diane Rickman, duty manager of Sainsbury’s in Sale for providing a range of snacks for the day.

Looking back at the event, Trafford CIL’s CEO Sophie Miles said: “We welcomed the opportunity to celebrate the skills of both disabled people in Trafford and the launch of the Rio Paralympics 2016 at our event. It was fantastic to learn more about the achievements of our speakers and we hope their stories were inspirational to everyone attending. It truly was a ‘Yes, I can!’ day.”

Organiser of the event, Trafford CIL's Information Officer, Batir Ali said "he would like to thank all the staffs and volunteers who made this event possible and especially to the guest speakers who were really inspiring. Holding a joint information day and celebrating the launch of the paralympics worked well as it allowed visitors to come and celebrate with us as well as find out about Trafford CIL's services."