The Shortlist of finalists for the 2014 Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards has been confirmed. Sue Frett of Special Olympics Surrey has been nominated in the Community Award category.
Now in their 27th year, the Awards celebrate the outstanding contribution to sport made by elite performers, coaches, administrators, community volunteers and inspirational female figures.
Sue Frett is the sort of person every community needs and comes around once in a lifetime.
Sue, now 75, started helping children with learning disabilities 50 years ago when her own son Jonathan first went to St. Philips School for children with intellectual challenges in Chessington, Surrey.
Sue has said previously: “My life has been full of many happy moments. People ask me why I was drawn to helping people with learning disability and why I have spent the last 50 years being involved. Jonathan (Jono) my youngest son had measles when he was 13 months old which left him with a learning disability. It affected his eyes, his speech and left him with one leg shorter than the other. I realised from an early age that sport was to be his saving grace.
In 1993 I started a local charity called ‘Reach Out’ for Youth and adult disabilities. I was Chairperson up to 2006 and then set up Special Olympics in Surrey (SOS) the following year. This was just up my street and some of the charity members came over to SOS to learn sport. That included Jono. The first sport we introduced was ten pin bowling. Surrey has, in eight years, become one of the largest ten pin bowling teams in the country.
Currently, Surrey has 75 athletes in weekly training. To see young men and women come to us as shy young people and then turn into confident athletes does bring tears to your eyes. Not only do we encourage people to come on board as athletes but we also encourage the parents to be involved. I get to know the families as well as the athletes.
I would like to see Special Olympics GB to become as big as it is in America. I would like to see all boroughs across the country recognising SOGB. What this recognition could do for disabled people would be outstanding.
Sue has lost count of the number of disabled people that have crossed her path. She has not only got them into sport but also managed to secure an ambulance which was especially designed for the athletes’ needs as well as endless amounts of sports equipment secured through hard work, energy and endeavour
Despite being in her eighth decade and celebrating 50 years of service, Sue has no thoughts of retiring her support for her community any time soon.