An athlete has returned from a successful European Championships campaign to thanks his supporters in Wigan and Leigh.
Wheelchair rugby ace Danny Dawoud was part of the gold-medal winning British side which triumphed at the finals in Stockholm.
But question marks were placed over the Hindley resident’s participation in the discipline after UK Sport withdrew financial support for elite competitors like Danny and his colleagues.
Council bosses in Wigan stepped in with funding from The Deal, enabling the 24-year-old former Mere Oak student to concentrate on his calling.
Danny and the national team can now look forward to preparations for the world championships in Sydney next summer.
He admits that the UK Sport decision, which was also rejected after an appeal, and coming soon after the Rio Olympics, was a blow.
The number of competitive teams had mushroomed, especially after the London games four years earlier. The dedication of several UK wheelchair rugby officials, who volunteered their services after the UK Sport ruling, kept the squad united.
Danny, who attended sixth-form at Leigh Sports Village, said: “One of the main issues for athletes was performance allowances, which enables us to attend competitions and training.
“I train in Sheffield and have to travel down to Stoke Mandeville for tournaments on a fairly regular basis.
“I’ve known Coun Chris Ready and Lord Peter Smith for some time, when I was part of the wheelchair rugby squad, and they were aware of the situation.
“To get Believe funding, from my local council, is really helpful. I’m a proud Wiganer and I can use this funding now to train for Sydney.”
Danny has had to contend with brittle bone disease from birth, resulting in around 300 fractures while growing up.
He later moved on to Hindley High and later studied sports coaching at the University of Central Lancashire.
Coun Ready has described Danny previously as “truly inspirational”.
And Lord Peter Smith added: “It was a privilege for us to support such an inspiring person, who sees only opportunities to grasp, rather than problems.”
Danny is seeking sponsors for Sydney and can be emailed on firstname.lastname@example.org