Cricket hero Tony Lewis makes first class visit for school's big day
GLAMORGAN cricketing great Tony Lewis bowled over pupils when he opened a new sensory room at a Swansea school.
The former England captain cut the ribbon with Pen-y-Bryn School headteacher Annie Williams-Brunt.
Once used as a disabled toilet, the room has special lighting, textures and sounds, plus educational software.
There is also a massage chair and a whiteboard which projects onto the floor.
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The £17,000 for the project came from a partnership between BT and The Lord's Taverners charity.
Mr Lewis, an honorary life member of the charity — and its current Wales president — said the Morriston school represented "the gospel of the possible".
He said: "Here, no-one says, 'You can't do anything'. They say you can do something."
And The Lord's Taverners, he said, was all about giving everyone a sporting chance.
Mrs Williams-Brunt said the school would not have had the sensory room and its equipment without the support of the two organisations. "It's beautiful stuff," she said. "It will help with pupils' communication and fine motor skills."
Pen-y-Bryn School has 116 pupils, aged four to 19, and 75 staff. Some pupils have two members of staff assigned to them.
Mrs Williams-Brunt said she had a "fabulous" job.
"You can really make a difference," she said.
"For our children, school days are the best days of their lives."
Sixth formers, she said, were preparing for a trip to Rhossili next week, while a school Victorian Christmas exhibition will take pride of place at the National Waterfront Museum.
The BT and Lord's Taverners partnership is spending £400,000 to install 13 new multi-sensory areas across the UK.
The Lord's Taverners focuses on youth cricket in disadvantaged areas and recreational equipment for young people with disabilities and special needs. It raises funds through dinner, auctions and celebrity cricket matches.
Mr Lewis, 74, was born in Uplands, Swansea, and later attended Neath Grammar School.
He went on to captain Glamorgan and, on his playing debut, England.
He said his best ever opponent was Garry Sobers - and he witnessed the West Indian belt six sixes after giving Glamorgan team-mate Malcolm Nash the ball at St Helen's on August 31, 1968 - while the best cricketer he played with, for Glamorgan at least, was Majid Khan.
As chairman of Glamorgan Mr Lewis signed Viv Richards — and two years ago was instrumental in the successful bid to bring the Ryder Cup golf tournament to Wales.