HARRY ’ S GAME 15
Fairchild is a bit of a local celebrity in Brighton . A talented actor , dancer and musician , he has worked as a professional Makaton sign language teacher at St Luke ’ s Primary School for over three years .
However , table tennis is Fairchild ’ s real passion . He has been part of the Brighton Table Tennis Club ( BTTC ) coaching team for a year and in 2016 he passed his Level 1 coaching course to become the UK ’ s first qualified table tennis coach with Down ’ s syndrome .
The demanding three-month course included a practical assessment of delivering table tennis skills to a group of children , as well as a whole host of written work .
But Fairchild took it all in his stride : ‘ I had help from my coaches and other friends on my course ,’ he says .
‘ People helped me learn it . I had help with writing . There was a lot of writing ! I had to work hard . I did good listening too . I liked practicing and telling people what to do .
‘ I am best at helping people play table tennis . I make the players feel good and they like me being a coach . I think I coach children best and they love me a lot .’
Fairchild has represented the club at the Malmo Open
, one of the biggest disability sporting events outside of the Paralympic Games .
And despite going down the coaching career path , he is still a very ambitious player . As he puts it : ‘ I am a coach and a player .’
Tim Holtam , BTTC Director and founder thinks Harry is a great role model for his club and the sport .
‘ Table tennis is lucky he has decided to focus his boundless energy on the sport .
‘ He plays between three and five hours , six days a week , and his passion for the sport and support for others make a great contribution to the club .
‘ He is also an outstanding player with a great future ahead of him and was last year crowned UK table tennis champion at the Special Olympics national competition as the highest finisher with Down ’ s syndrome .’
‘ It is fun . You can be a coach too . I will
help you to play and to be a coach like me . We are very very good at it . If you don ’ t have Down ’ s syndrome you can play too .
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