Paralympic champion Will Bayley and rising star Bly Twomey journeyed to the birthplace of the Paralympics when they caught up with a Brighton TTC club-mate at the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC).

Photos by Caleb Yule Photography

The star duo joined Brighton TTC founder Tim Holtam to visit Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, where 18-year-old Jack Silberston has been undergoing rehabilitation.

Jack came to the NSIC following a tumour on his spine and started playing wheelchair table tennis during his first admission.

He enjoyed the sessions so much that he began playing regularly at Brighton, near where he lives. Even though he has only been playing around six months, he has already had success, recently winning three gold medals at the Malmo Open.

Tim Holtam, Will Bayley and Bly Twomey with Jack Silberston, Sammy (Physio Assistant), and Kirsten Hart from the NHS Trust

Will was the Paralympic champion at Rio 2016 and is current world No 1 in Class 7. Bly is ranked No 5 in the world in Class 7 and recently won singles and doubles gold medals at the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open in Italy.

They hosted two sessions for patients, both children and adults, starting with a demonstration from 13-year-old Bly, followed by the opportunity for patients to get involved and have one-to-one coaching.

Bly and Will talking to NSIC patients during the session

Jack Silberston said: “’It was a great experience to have some of the Brighton Table Tennis Club come to see where the Paralympic Games started.

“I think everyone involved enjoyed themselves and hopefully some of the patients are now thinking about pursuing table tennis. Sport can be so transformative for people with disabilities.”

Jack Silberston

Kirsten Hart, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “The visit provided such a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It was great to see the patients enjoying the coaching and support from Will and Bly. I think we may have inspired a few potential future players.”  

Tim Holtam, BTTC Director, said: “It was an honour to visit BTTC’s Jack Silberston at Stoke Mandeville Hospital with Will and Bly – the birthplace of the Paralympics.

“We want to make this a really strong link and show how incredible table tennis can be when it’s done properly.

“Thanks so much to all of the staff and patients at Stoke Mandeville for making us so welcome, we will be back soon for more!”