The success of the Emma Holloway Disability Schools’ Grand Prix has surpassed expectations in its first year, according to her father.
Neil Holloway was speaking after the fourth and final event of the season, held at Ipswich Town Football Club on Thursday.
Forty disabled children from three educational establishments – Beacon Hill and Suffolk One in Ipswich and Riverwalk in Bury St Edmunds – took part in the session at Portman Road.
The partnership between Suffolk FA and the Emma Holloway Foundation is aimed at creating a long-lasting legacy in Emma’s name that will provide additional opportunities for those with identified special needs to participate in football.
The 19-year-old avid AFC Sudbury Ladies player was tragically killed while travelling to her Badwell Ash home following a training session in November 2010.
Neil Holloway, who was present on Thursday along with Emma’s mother Julie, said of the Grand Prix series: “It has gone really well. There have been over 200 children from 18 schools involved over the course of the season.
“We are really happy with all the coaching given by Suffolk FA. It has been a real eye-opener.
“All the family feel very proud to think what has come out of it. The children seem to have all enjoyed themselves and there has been good feedback from the teachers too.
“We did not know what to expect from the partnership with Suffolk FA, but it has worked really well.
“It has surpassed expectations and to come here on the last day and see what has been achieved is absolutely fantastic.
“The dates are now being put into the school curriculum for next year, so it should be bigger and better next season.”
A total of £2,500 raised by the Emma Holloway Foundation has helped to pay towards hiring facilities to stage the four Grand Prix.
These have been held at Whitton Sports Centre in Ipswich, Denes High School in Lowestoft, Nowton Park in Bury St Edmunds and Thursday’s finale at Ipswich Town, which saw 40 children aged between nine and 17 take part in a 75-minute session led by Suffolk FA coaches.
The youngsters then had a conducted behind-the-scenes tour of Portman Road.