My Name is Judy Webber and I am a Life Member of CPSARA. I have been a member for over 20 years and have served on the Committee as a general committee member and was Secretary until I retired. I have been married to Michael for 45 years and we have one son Sean who was born with Cerebral Palsy.
It was through Sean that I became involved with CPSARA. Sean was a swimmer and his coach suggested we join a disability association after some searching, we came across CPSARA.
Being on the CPSARA committee gave me a lot of opportunity to meet and talk with other parents with children like Sean. It gave me the opportunity to get the word out to the local community. As secretary I helped organise a couple of Swim Meets when NSW Sports Council for the Disabled folded and before NSW Swimming took over running the Swim Meets.
I coordinated with Corny van Eldik (CPASRA) for our athletes to attend the CPISRA World Championships in Connecticut USA and worked with Wheelchair Sports for our athletes to attend the Junior National Games. Organised trivia nights to raise funds and other fundraising events for these athletes.
I represented CPSARA on the committee for NSW Athletes with a Disability (AWD) a group of other member organisations and disability groups through NSW Sport and Recreation.
MARGARET GREGSON OAM and ALLAN GREGSON OAM
We have been asked many times how we became involved with Disability Sport.
We lived in the country, our son Stephen was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy and
later, visually impaired.
On recommendations, we moved to Sydney for him to attend North Rocks Blind
School. Being very involved in swimming, we joined Blind Sporting Association NSW for Stephen to be able to compete. As volunteers, taking on Executive positions, I travelled with teams to Australian Championships as staff and Allan as a coach to International Competition.
We were approached in1985 by Charles Sanderson, the Recreation Officer employed by the NSW Spastic Centre (now the Cerebral Palsy Alliance) to help form the NSW Cerebral Palsy Sports Association. As there was no National Sports Association for CP sports, Queensland Sporting Wheelies was catering for CP Athletes and they decided to send an Australian team to the 1st CP world Championships and 3 swimmers NSW were included in the team Robert Waldron, Stephen Gregson, Karen Ferguson held in Belgium. The Cerebral Palsy Australian Sports & Recreation Federation was formed in 1990.
CPSARA NSW was formed in 1986 to offer Sport and Recreational opportunities to
people of all ages to participate in activities. Joined NSW Sports Council in 1987.
Over the years we have been involved with CPSARA, we have held Executive positions, helped with activities ranging from State Championships for various sports, Sunday morning clubs, camps at Narrabeen, traveling with teams both interstate, Internationally, myself as manager and Allan as coach.
From 1993 to 2005 all Disability Associations joined together for State Championship conducted by NSWSCD. We both had positions on NSWSCD.
1990 was the last time CP swimmers competed in CP classifications at the World
Championships because IPC then introduced the Functional Classification for swimmers with a physical disability. Australia held their first seminar for classifiers in November that year, Allan attended and has been doing swimming classification since then. I organise the bookings for classification.
We have both been involved with the schools from the introduction of the school system of events for swimmers with a disability, PSSA being first to introduce it in 1990. We have travelled as Managers of the team to School Sport Australia and Pacific School Games for 22 years.
We have really enjoyed our time with all the athletes and we are very proud seeing what they achieved in life.
We were very humbled to be nominated and proud to receive the OAM for our work
with people with a disability.
My involvement with CP 7-A-Side Football began over 15 years ago following a conversation with fellow Life Member Ian Menzies, in the car park following our footy training of Binalong Oval, Pendle Hill. I subsequently offered to come and give him a hand at an upcoming CP Football Camp at Narrabeen Sports Academy. I still remember that day clearly, especially having to ask my wife Myra whether it was okay for me to stay overnight. I’d received so much positive feedback from the kids at the camp that it seemed the right thing to do, especially with some of the boys asking me what we had planned for that night and the next day. Years later, we are still running these camps and many of those boys are now men with wives and families of their own. We all still look forward to our camps, the training sessions and just catching up with one another, which after 15 years, must mean we have a pretty special thing happening.
Bar the first year of my involvement, NSW has remained the dominant force in Australian 7-A-Side Football, winning the National Championships 15 years in a row and still counting. One of the biggest assets of the NSW squad has been its retention of players and ability to foster development among its younger members. Much of this has come from the respect that all members of the squad have for one another. We have been able to foster a wealth of valuable mentors and inspirational leaders within the squad and this has been simply amazing. Inspirational examples include Chris Pyne with over 100 caps playing for Australia, James Turner, a winner of numerous Olympic gold medals and world records in athletics, and hopefully in the near future Gordan Alan representing Australia in cycling. In addition to athletes of that calibre, several great coaches have emerged from the mix with the likes of Taj Lynch and Ben Sutton now themselves enjoying the thrill of coaching at a high level. NSW has also consistently dominated the make-up of the Australian Pararoos Team. This in turn helps create a very driven and productive environment, one in which the players believe in themselves and what is achievable if they work hard for it. All this makes my involvement with the team an absolute joy and I seriously get more out of helping these guys and girls than anything else I have ever been involved with.
Over the years, I’ve come to realise what CPSARA and football can do to help the players and families. It’s not just about football or sport in general, it opens up opportunities they weren’t aware of, offers assistance in putting people in contact with professionals who can change their lives and provides opportunities and pathways that are endless. It has been a never ending eye opener for all concerned. I've heard some amazing stories of resilience and endeavour and witnessed many amazing journeys. Along the way, we have also been apart of some incredibly sad moments as well. Most importantly, the people I’ve met through my involvement, have kept me grounded and given me new perspectives on life, people and their attitudes and how easy it is for many of us to take things for granted.
In more recent years I have also become involved in the development of Athletes With Disability (AWD) Football. Having had numerous players from our NSW squad playing AWD Futsal so that they are playing all year round, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of football. This in turn, led to me being involved in the Hills Football AWD Committee and coaching an All Abilities team at my local club, North Rocks Soccer Club. We live in an amazingly diverse and interconnected world, and this involvement has evolved so that I now regularly meet others in my community equally involved, and these connections can be embraced and used to everyone’s advantage. My involvement with the Hills AWD community has led me to discovering several players with CP who weren’t aware of our NSW program, players involved in not only the All Abilities community, but also with the general football population. Additionally, the recent growth in female football has opened up an opportunity for the women and girls to get involved in 7-A-Side Football, and I am happy to say, NSW and CPSARA are on the front foot and leading the way with involvement and development in this long neglected area.
I would like to thank the people involved in nominating me for life membership. I feel very humbled to think that people would consider of me for this honour. Unlike previous Life Members who have actively contributed to the CPSARA Committee, I have been just doing what I love, coaching and playing football and with a great bunch of players who have always given me their respect and attention, what more could a person want.
Thanks again for the recognition, it is much appreciated. Being around these athletes and seeing them develop, not just as players, but as fantastic role models, has been a highlight of my life and I hope it carries on for a few more years yet.