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March 15, 2012
Power chair football - a form of soccer adapted for wheelchair users - has taken off since it was brought to the UK from Japan in 2005. But the closest teams to Cumbria are in Newcastle and Bolton.
Coaching sessions were held at the Richard Rose Morton Academy, in Carlisle, on Saturday and yesterday to gauge demand. And so many people turned up that a campaign has been launched to bring the sport to the county full-time.
First though, campaigners must raise £50,000 to pay for equipment.
Ray McBride, of Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Club which organised the event, said: "The response has been fantastic. It has far exceeded our expectations and shown us how much we need this sport in Cumbria.
"It gives these people focus and purpose in their lives which can sometimes be missing."
Players need special power chairs to play, which travel at 12mph - three times faster than regular wheelchairs.
Mel Cattinson, of Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Club, said: "Some of the guys who play this, the only part of their body they can work is their thumb.
"So you can imagine the thrill and the adrenaline of playing this sport to someone who can't brush their teeth without help."
Cumbria Wheelchair Sports Club will soon begin fundraising to reach its £50,000 target.
Any businesses wishing to offer support can call Mr McBride on 07827 447274.