Joan Mann Special Sports Day 40th Anniversary

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  • 100 ARW PA

RAF Mildenhall hosted the 40th Joan Mann Special Sports Day Sept. 30, 2022.

JMSSD is an event dedicated to special-needs adults and children from the surrounding local communities. There were twelve games played in total to include: bowling, basketball shoot, tennis ball bounce, Frisbee toss, ring toss, tennis ball shuffle run, football kick, obstacle course, American football throw, 50-yard run, 100-yard run and the wheelchair slalom​.

The program was formed in 1981 when Joan Mann, a Ministry of Defence employee who worked in the public affairs office on RAF Mildenhall, sought out to establish a way to bring local community and military members together to work with special-needs citizens.

“The Joan Mann Special Sports Day is such a heartwarming and important community relations event for the local community and RAF Mildenhall,” said Natalie Murphy, 100th Air Refueling Wing community relations advisor. “It is one of the biggest events of the year and so much fun, not only for the athletes but the many hundreds of volunteers who assist with the day.”

More than 200 volunteers from RAF Mildenhall, RAF Feltwell and RAF Lakenheath helped make the event a success for more than 130 athletes, from approximately 20 schools who participated in the event.

The event committee began planning half a year ago, and volunteers were crucial to making the day a big success.

“Many athletes look forward to this event all year and cannot wait for the games to begin,” said Murphy. “It is great that in its 40th year, Joan Mann Special Sports Day is still going strong.”

The day concluded with a medal ceremony. Leadership from both RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath, as well as RAFM honorary commanders in the community presented awards to the participants.