A wheelchair rugby team from Penrith have received a donation of £1,000 from Carlisle’s Geoff Brown.

The Penrith Pumas, Cumbria’s first wheelchair rugby club, received the cheque from Mr Brown during a training session this week.

The Pumas are run by Head Coach Gary Pettit, who was medically discharged from the Armed Forces 21 years ago. Both he and his wife, Megan, decided to start the club and have seen it go from strength to strength.

Discussing the donation, Gary shared: “It’s just phenomenal. The wheels are £250 each, the wheel guards are £65 and tyres are £13 so £1,000 is going to help us buy at least two brand new chairs. The tubes we use can go very quickly after our training sessions or the weekend matches. We do have a deal with the local cycle shop who give us the tubes for £4 each, you go through ten of those which comes to £40 a night so it’s extraordinary what £1,000 can do for us.”

The players enjoy the adrenaline pumping sport and Gary is keen to increase the numbers at the club. He continued: “We aren’t equipped for children yet, but anyone over the age of 16 is welcome to join in at any time, all you need is a bottle of water. The chairs, gloves and shorts are provided.

“The good thing is, we’re the only full contact disability sport available and anyone can join in for training. League matches are played with people who have some form of impairment but there’s nothing stopping those interested from helping us with officiating or repairing tyres. Anyone can come to train and they would be made to feel very welcome.”

Gary has his mind set on a successful future for Cumbria in the sport. He said: “Hopefully, I would like to get more clubs in the area. I’d like to focus the South Lakes and west coast in the next few years where there’s not much going on for people in those spots. I know for a fact that there’s a few veterans who are physically impaired due to conflicts and I think there will be a good group of players in the area.

“I’d like there to be three or four teams in the area that can compete and hopefully within a few years we can travel to Stoke Mandeville for the league and collect some silverware.”