Belper Games organisers plan best year yet as wristbands go on sale

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The Belper Games returns for another knockout round this month, and organisers promise the town’s biggest community event is going to be more epic than ever.

The seventh annual weekend of fun and games will be back at Belper Rugby Club, July 20-22, with even more entertainment for the whole family.

Co-organiser Kerry Bull said: “You would be absolutely bonkers to miss this year, there is so much going on.”

Her colleague Nick Wheeler added: “We never could have predicted the way this event would grab the love and attention of the people of Belper, let’s keep it going.”

In 2017, the event attracted 10,000 people and raised £35,000 for charity — taking the all-time total to £121,000.

The weekend begins with a free, family-friendly Friday night film double-bill of Finding Nemo and School of Rock, perfect for a summer picnic and a chance to enjoy the real ale and cider festival.

On Saturday, the games commence. Hundreds of people dressed as Teletubbies will wrestle and run through a series of challenges and an inflatable obstacle course.

A record 36 teams have signed up to take part, with places filled months ago.

Anyone not involved in the competition can enjoy it from the sidelines, along with children’s rides, food, drink and shopping stalls, live music, and the showground including dog agility competition.

If that is not enough, the after-party will go late into the night with bands such as The Barnie Rubblz, Lords of Valhalla, Wheatabix supporting headliners Connector.

For the first time this year, the Fleets Arts Centre will also be hosting a stage full of musicians from local schools.

Sunday sees the event turn into a fully-fledged music festival with two stages and artists including Ferocious Dog, James Warner Prophecies and Jamie Warner, plus creative workshops for all ages.

Co-organiser Jim Bull said: “Thanks go to our sponsors who all get to advertise at the event, in particular YNOT music festival which has sponsored the main stage.

“The help of local businesses ensures the costs for the event are kept as low as possible, so ultimately we can give much more to the charities.”

In the run up to the event, Jim and Kerry are to feature in a new awareness-raising campaign for the charity Ataxia UK, which supports people with the rare neurological condition Kerry has lived with for more than 20 years.

Fractured Lives is a new initiative to spread the word about ataxia, which affects approximately 10,000 adults and 500 children in the UK, including more than 100 in Derbyshire.

Posters on buses throughout Derby will feature Kerry and her family, while members of the local support group will be visiting schools across the county to spread the word about the condition.

The charity’s chief executive Sue Millman said: “Less than 10 per cent of the UK population know what ataxia is, so the condition is often misinterpreted.

“The difficulties people living with the condition face are made worse by the fact that the general public have never heard of it.”

She added: “People have even been accused of being drunk and arrested as a result. This campaign aims to challenge misunderstandings.”

Ataxia is a rare, life-changing neurological condition which affects balance, speech and co-ordination, and can even lead to heart failure. There’s no treatment and no cure.

Sue said: “This really does fracture lives, and the voices of those affected have gone unheard for far too long. If our campaign will achieve this, we need your support.”

Entry wristbands are now on sale for the event.

Weekend passes will cost £6 for ages 14-65 and £5 for anyone older. It will be £3 for children aged 6-13, and free for anyone younger.

For details see facebook.com/thebelpergames.