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Why Wythenshawe runners went extra mile to meet the Queen

A hundred Wythenshawe residents literally had a fleeting visit with the Queen as they took part in a charity race at the BBC’s northern home in MediaCity.

The runners were invited to join the BBC's own internal version of Sport Relief Mile on Friday (23 March) which was started by Her Majesty the Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on their visit to officially open MediaCityUK.

The Wythenshawe guests were invited because of their commitment to sport and the forthcoming Wythenshawe Games - a community replica of London 2012, which is expected to involve 8,000 residents. The Wythenshawe Games take place from 20 - 29 July.

The aim of the Wythenshawe Games is to involve all members of the community, regardless of age or fitness levels in a 9-day sporting event that mimics the Olympics and will culminate in a party for an expected 15,000 people in Wythenshawe Park.

Among those people who ran the mile on Friday at MediaCity, sporting their Wythenshawe Games t-shirts, were customers from Hall Lane Resource Centre in Baguley.  Three young adults, who all have learning difficulties, took part in the run and will also be taking part in the Wythenshawe Games.

Pauline Lewis, senior day centre officer at Hall Lane Resource Centre said: "It was a fabulous opportunity for the youngsters and makes them part of the community at two high-profile events.  Their excitement was second-to-none on Friday - they kept asking lots of questions about the Queen and her visit.  They were also tremendously proud to be wearing their Wythenshawe Games T-shirts because they are now working on their own personal best goals for the event."

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure at Manchester City Council said: "If we can get residents involved in sport in a lasting way, it has the power to transform their health and social possibilities for life.  Friday was the icing on the cake for many Wythenshawe residents - it's almost as if the Wythenshawe Games have been given the royal seal of approval."

For more information about Wythenshawe Games, log on to www.wythenshawegames.org.uk.