PARALYMPIC gold medallist Will Bayley has joined forces with Pepenbury to become an ambassador for the Pembury disability charity.
The men’s class 7 world No 1 Para table tennis player, who received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List, visited the charity last year.
Will, from Groombridge, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder that affects the movement in all four of his limbs.
He then contracted Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, at the age of seven which required 18 months of chemotherapy.
Pepenbury provides residential facilities with full-time care, supported living, a day services centre and a community team that help support people living on their own in the community around West Kent.
The charity, which employs more than 250 staff, primarily supports people with learning disabilities but also those with physical disabilities.
Pepenbury also helps them to experience more independent living through training in life and work skills.
“People with learning disabilities are no different to us,” says Will. “They want to go on first dates, laugh with friends in the pub and have jobs, but without the right support they struggle to do this.
“Pepenbury is really committed to doing everything they can to support them, which is why they have to fundraise.
“I know first hand what having the right support can do and what you can achieve. That’s why I’m excited to get involved and support this charity. I was so impressed with them when I visited.”
Pepenbury’s chief executive, Sarah Stookes, said: “We are beyond thrilled to welcome Will as our ambassador. He is such a role model for many and his enthusiasm for what we do and the people we support is amazing.
“We are looking forward to working with him to raise awareness of learning disabilities and the fact that being different doesn’t mean you should be excluded or that you can’t progress in life with the right support.”