A remarkable woman meets walking footballers

Paralympic wheelchair racer Anne Wafula Strike MBE, who will be 50 in a few weeks, took time out while visiting Centre Algarve (Moncarapacho) to meet members of East Algarve Walking Football and their guests, the Mature Millers WF from Rotherham.

Anne, who now lives in Harlow, Essex, met up with the aged footballers at the José Arcanjo Stadium, Olhão, during a friendly mini-tournament.

Anne is an inspirational individual who has motivated thousands of people.

Born in Mihu, Kenya, Anne was a fit and healthy child before polio struck when she was two years old. She was given the middle name of Olympia at birth, a title of prophetic significance for the future and the many hurdles she would face in forthcoming years.

Superstitious villagers believed the family were cursed following Anne’s partial recovery from illness, which forced her family into decisions and acts that would change her life forever.

After completing A-Levels and graduating from university with a Bachelor of Education degree, Anne taught at a Technical College in Kenya before meeting her future husband Norman Strike – which led her to Britain, motherhood, wheelchair racing, disability advocacy and charity work.

The year of 2004 marked the beginning of an Olympic career when Anne became the first wheelchair racer from Sub-Sahara Africa to compete at the Paralympics in Athens. In 2006, Anne became a British citizen, joined Team GB and in 2007 she was officially recognised by the Queen for her work as a disabled athlete and for involvement in charity work for people with disabilities.

Despite being put in the wrong disability category in her sport alongside athletes possessing more mobility than her, she went on to win a bronze medal at the 2007 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester.

Anne has written a book entitled ‘In My Dreams I Dance’, which is one of the most moving true stories, but for the 49-year-old her tale is as much about giving hope to others as it is about herself.

“The book gives people the chance to get to know the real Anne and understand all about me and what I have been through. But my biggest hope is that people read my book and see how I overcame my disabilities to achieve more than I ever dreamed I could. I hope that my story makes people view disabilities in a different way and makes them believe that they can overcome any obstacle if they work hard enough. When the going gets tough, never give up.”

Anne was bowled over with Centre Algarve, a specialist holiday centre which is fully equipped to allow people with special needs – young and old – to experience a holiday with their family or carers.

On Saturday, August 3, Pudsey Bear will be in attendance at Centre Algarve helping to raise funds for BBC’s Children in Need and raising the awareness about the centre’s facilities.

Anne will be attending the fun-packed day, so if you would like to join her and Pudsey by volunteering your services and/or raising funds, call Tom Willis on 962 812 230 or email [email protected]



Caption: Anne Wafula Strike with the walking footballers at the José Arcanjo Stadium in Olhão