RAF Mildenhall to host annual special sports day Sept. 24

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The 30th Annual Joan Mann Special Sports Day is scheduled for Sept. 24 in Hangar 711 here.

For 30 years, military and civilian employees at RAF Mildenhall have invited local community members with special needs on base for this event. More than 700 base volunteers will again provide games, food and entertainment for more than 250 visitors.

"This is a good way to give back to the community and help other people," said 1st Lt. Lindsay Freeman, 352nd Special Operations Group, after volunteering at last year's event. Freeman also volunteered for the 2009 Joan Mann Special Sports Day.

The day will start with a traditional Olympic-style parade of athletes and end with an awards ceremony. Events of the day include basketball, frisbee toss, football toss, bowling, tennis ball bounce and an obstacle course/wheelchair slalom.

"Joan Mann Special Sports day is significant because it allows us to team with our host nation to provide a day of celebration for both countries' special athletes," said Master Sgt. Gary Kimes, 351st Air Refueling Squadron first sergeant, the 2011 event chairperson. "This year marks the 30th anniversary and our committee has worked hard to make it a memorable event for everyone."

The sports day is named for its founder, Joan Mann, a Ministry of Defence employee who worked at the base public affairs office. Mann's empathy and admiration toward those with special needs and her desire to draw the base and local communities together were the catalyst for the first special sports day.

Media members interested in attending the sports day should contact the base public affairs office at 01638 542654 by noon Sept. 23.