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No boundaries for Newton

A teenager with cerebral palsy has hit new heights as he celebrates becoming qualified as a cricket umpire.

Harry Newton from Salisbury, Wiltshire, passed his ACO level one umpiring exam recently after completing a rigorous training course.

A wheelchair user and cricket-mad, the 19-year-old was delighted with his achievement.

“Harry lives for cricket and he was determined to find some way to be part of the game," said his proud dad Lyndon.

"He took this test to prove it could be done. He scored 81 per cent and was in tears when he realised he’d done it. He was choked with emotion. We’re so proud of him.”

Harry, who was born with cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic and has spent his life in a wheelchair. He started watching cricket at a young age, is a member of Hampshire County Cricket Club and, later this year is off to Australia to watch the Ashes.

Harry, who is studying IT, sport and media at college and was a junior shot putt champion, hopes to begin umpiring matches this season, and has also been considering a cricket coaching course.

“We’ll have to see about access and the opportunities for him,” said Mr Newton.

“It would be great if he could umpire some local matches but he’s already shown that, despite his disability, he can achieve some great things.”

Pete Sykes, Cricket Development Manager for the Wiltshire Cricket Board, said the teenager is an inspiration.

“This is an absolutely superb achievement for Harry and is something that is very groundbreaking for cricket given Harry’s disability and the nature of the course," he said.

"It is the first time certainly in Wiltshire that a disabled candidate has gone through any sort of volunteering course, be it coaching or umpiring and so is something that will inspire more people with disabilities to break down the barriers and get involved with cricket.

"It forms part of a wider plan for Wiltshire Cricket as the County Board are looking to venture more and more into disability cricket provision. This is one of the first success stories, showing that disabled people have as much of a role to play in cricket as anybody else and so we feel that Harry’s story should be celebrated.

"He is a superb role model and a very impressive man who I am delighted to have working with me in Wiltshire."

Ally Jarvis, Regional vCricket Manager, South & South West, echoed those thoughts.

“Harry is an inspiration to all proving that there are no barriers within the game," he said.

"Meeting Harry six months ago we set a 12 month vision and he is well on his way to achieving this."

Ian Martin, National Disability Cricket Manager, added: "Harry’s achievement is fantastic and is further evidence that disability is no obstacle to enjoying and contributing to our great game. I hope that many other people with disabilities follow Harry’s lead and choose to become cricket officials."