PHOTOS: Boccia Buddy Brings Happiness To CBS Pupil Arthur

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Young Arthur O’Brien lets the ball fly as his dad Arthur, mom Mary, brother Daniel and Josh Corbett, activity facilitator at Our Lady of Fatima Nursing Home look on. Photo by Dermot Crean

A YOUNG pupil at CBS Primary School who uses a wheelchair due to a rare condition, is now able to take part in a sports activity thanks to a kind-hearted employee of Our Lady Of Fatima Nursing Home.

Six year old Arthur O’Brien was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis which severely curtails the movement in his arms and legs and prevents him taking part in any sports activities at the school.

Through the school’s Seanóige project with Fatima Nursing Home, the school became aware of a Boccia Stand which was made by Josh Corbett, an activity facilitator there.

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Josh had already seen how Boccia — a game similar to bocce, played by competitors who have a physical disability that requires the use of a wheelchair —  had brought joy to residents in nursing homes in Cork.

He built his own stands for the residents in the Fatima home using the wood from his children’s old beds and a gutter pipe. When Josh heard about Arthur and his disability he donated one of his boccia stands to the school so Arthur can now join in at playtime.

Arthur and Daniel taking part in a game.

“We gave it to him on Thursday during PE. Normally Arthur is looking on and wishing he could take part with the other children in his class,” said teacher, Michelle Culloty. “But it was the opposite on Thursday as the other children all wanted to play boccia with him. He’s loving it and it’s just so heartwarming to see. He’s such a lovely child and nothing holds him back.”

Arthur’s parents Arthur and Mary and their other son Daniel were at the school on Monday to thank Josh and play a game with Arthur.

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“He hasn’t stopped talking about it all week,” said dad Arthur. “It’s a great activity and it gets him socialising more with the other kids. He’s a good mixer but it takes a bit of time, but with this boccia stand he’ll feel more part of the group. He can now play games with his brother too. It was so kind of Josh to make it for him.”

Josh, Arthur and his family spent time playing the game on Monday morning and it was apparent how much this simple boccia stand means to him, so well done to all involved.

Brothers at play.

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