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3 December 2020

A fascinating story on International Day of People with Disabilities

- Steven Downes tells us about his life as a Town fan
- Steven is a regular at Town games who is registered blind
- He shares his experiences on and away from match days

On International Day of People with Disabilities 2020, we’re proud to bring you a piece from Town fan Steven Downes; a regular in the stands at the John Smith’s Stadium.

“As a passionate supporter of the Club for over 10 years, I am proud to call myself a Town fan.

“One of the many reasons I am proud to be a Town fan is the way the club helps those supporters who are disabled, such as myself.

“Being registered blind isn't easy and you may think it hampers the enjoyment of attending games. Well you'd be wrong - that's not the case in supporting Town.

“The John Smith’s Stadium is easy to get around and everything is signposted big enough to read.

“Whilst the practical things such as that are important, what really impresses me is the staff. Nothing is too much trouble. For instance, when buying away tickets I like to try and sit right in the middle of the stand behind the goal. Big shout out to Blackburn Rovers, which is the best away ground I've been to in terms of being disability friendly. I need to use binoculars to watch the match. In 10 years of going to the ticket office I've yet to be treated poorly, and that is a huge credit to the Club.

“Another thing we use at games is the visually impaired commentary. This is done by Huddersfield Hospital radio for home games and I genuinely can't put into words how vital their service is.

“Due to work I often sit in the press area and again the staff are fantastic. If they see me struggling with something they will always help, which is appreciated.

“Finally, one funny story was when I attended one of Dean Hoyle’s Q&As. I'd always passed him in the Directors’ seats and sat behind him for games. As I went up to meet him at the Q&A he said: 'Hello, I recognize you - you're the chap with the binoculars!' I said yes and chuckled and explained my disability to him. He was genuinely interested in how I watch games. I'll always remember that chat, as that shows the kind of club Town are - caring, and inclusive.”

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