Julie Hanwell, Jordan's mum, shares his wonderful story with us...

My son, Jordan Brace, is aged 23 years and has Down’s Syndrome and severe learning difficulties together with other health issues. 

Jordan was initially introduced to boccia when he attended Talbot Specialist School from the age of approximately 11 years old.   At the age of 12 he then became a member of “Sheffield Smashers”, a Boccia Club formed by in Sheffield Irwin Mitchell, a firm of solicitors. He trained every Thursday evening at Don Valley Stadium until sadly, the Stadium was demolished in 2013.

Sheffield Smashers continued to train at Ponds Forge and when the 2017 Special Olympics were approaching, the club decided to enter Jordan to take part within the relevant boccia category. Subsequently, he was required to attend more intense training sessions with Boccia Sheffield which he still attends to date. This club was set up and coached by Mark Dolan for boccia players who wish to progress further by competing with other teams around the country.

From this time Jordan was involved in specific training to encourage and enable him to meet the standards and rules and regulations necessary to take part in the Special Olympics which were held in Sheffield at Ponds Forge in August 2017.   

These were such invigorating times for Jordan but he was very confident and attained two Gold Medals and a Bronze medal.  This was an amazing achievement taking into consideration his severe learning disability.

As well as being an Athlete in the 2017 Special Olympics Jordan also took part in the opening ceremony which was held at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. He performed a dance, alongside his regular weekly disability dance group “Dance Stars”, together with a group of professional dancers. They were amazing!

Jordan spent four nights in the Olympic Village with his team mates, Leslie and Kyle Martin, and his Coach Mark Dolan. He thoroughly enjoyed such special memorable times. Sadly, Leslie has now passed away but our club ensure he will never be forgotten! He was very well loved and respected by all. Such a character who is sadly missed by all our members.

Jordan also had the opportunity of meeting and shaking hands with Gareth Southgate (England Manager!).  He met other participants from other teams in Yorkshire and Humberside and made some lovely friends during this time. 


In 2018, he participated in the Special Olympics in Stirling, Scotland. He once again excelled himself and was presented with one Gold and one Bronze medal.


Jordan subsequently continues to practice boccia in our garden as he did throughout the pandemic.  His coach also arranged online boccia competitions which was great fun for all. 

He attends his weekly training sessions which are held at Talbot School with Boccia Sheffield every alternate Monday (due to Boccia England's Covid guidance). He is constantly progressing his knowledge and expertise of the game and will continue to do so in the future.

He absolutely enjoys the whole experience as not only is he enhancing his personal confidence and skills, he is also boosting his development and social skills at the same time as he is playing and learning alongside his many loyal friends.

Boccia plays a very significant part in Jordan’s life.  It has had an immense impact on the person he has become throughout his journey. He thoroughly enjoys the game, the meetings, the people and the taking part in competitions in various parts of the country. 

We have a lovely friendly team of players/coaches/parents and carers who will do their utmost to assist. You could say we resemble one big happy family as we are all very relaxed in one another’s company and are also very supportive of each other.