Workmates at Stanley-based building and roofing specialists, Hodgson Sayers, have cheered its rising star, Andrew Hetherington, captain of the magnificent GB Football team, for bringing home gold in last month’s Special Olympics.
Held in Los Angeles, The Special Olympics World Games showcased the talent of 6,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities who competed across 25 sports between July 25 to August 02.
Andrew, 26, a joiner, from Stanley, said: “Being captain of the football team at The Special Olympics was an amazing experience, one which I will never forget.
“I have always had a passion for football and have enjoyed playing the sport for as long as I can remember. When I was 18 I played as a defender for Boro’ Rangers on Teesside and have remained with the club ever since.
“It was thanks to playing with the team that my coach put me forward for the Special Olympics. Not many people are aware of it and neither was I, but being diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia meant that if I was good enough I could compete to a higher level.
“As I progressed with my career, I was fortunate to play in the Northern region competing against other teams from across the country which led me to being selected for Great Britain where my position on the team is in the defence.
“Three of the lads who are from the local area and play for Beamish Dynamos are on the Great Britain football team, as is the coach. I often help out and train at the club so it was great to have them alongside me on our journey.
“In the run-up to The Special Olympics we had been training hard, with sessions in Liverpool and Scotland where the squad got together from across Great Britain.
“My time in LA was amazing, from the welcome party that was held for us in Calabasas where I had the chance to meet celebrities such as boxer, Audley Harrison, to participating in the games against countries such as India, Ireland, Bangladesh, Iceland and Ireland.
“We played Bangladesh in the final which went to penalties but, thankfully, we won 5-3, to bring home the gold. We were very much the underdogs, we thought we could achieve bronze with Ireland tipped to win the group but through sheer determination and a bit of luck we won.
“I was captaining a fantastic team and morale was high. I even managed to score two goals, one of which was against Barat and the other against Iceland. It was an incredible experience and provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate our talent and meet athletes from across the world, each of us showing that although we may have a disability it can’t stop you achieving success.
“It has been a massive support to me that Hodgson Sayers has backed me by being my sponsor and supporting me in a sport that I am so passionate about. I am fortunate that they were happy to allow me the time away from work, not many other companies would be so encouraging and I am very thankful for this.”
Managing director at Hodgson Sayers, John Sayers, said: “We are all very proud of Andrew, delighted to be his sponsor and continue to support his progress.
“We have seen his confidence soar and it is great to see a young man have a real passion for a sport which shines through when he speaks about it. What a fantastic achievement not just for Andrew but for the whole of the GB Football team, who have proudly brought home the gold medal”
Established in 1979, Hodgson Sayers was primarily a roofing contractor. Over the years it has developed and diversified considerably to include building works, fencing and metalwork fabrication.
Living up to its key values of honesty, decency and integrity, the company became the first in the North East construction sector to attain Living Wage accreditation and has publicly backed The Journal’s Pay Fair campaign encouraging the payment of suppliers on time and wider ethical trading practices.
In 2014 Hodgson Sayers featured in the Ward Hadaway ‘Fastest 50 Growing Companies’ and was acknowledged by the London Stock Exchange as one of the ‘1000 companies to Inspire Britain 2015.’
The company’s ISO9001 & ISO14001 accredited operations are reflected in the consistently high standards of delivery, presentation and all processes.