My journey started in 2003 when I was helping out at the Well Resource Centre and a couple came in to talk to us about boccia. They were telling us where their club was in Dover and said I could go to a taster session to see if I liked it.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it, so I decided I would go to the Dover club every week. I found this was a good way for me to socialise and to learn the rules as a beginner. We played in-house competitions which helped me to understand some of the rules and regulations.

I knew after I picked up my first boccia ball that boccia was for me.

It was like I felt a part of something that is bigger than a sport.

After a few years, I moved to the Ashford area. I thought I wouldn’t ever be able to find another club to join and to be a part of, but I started to look online for clubs that I could possibly go to. I recognised a picture of a couple that had visited the Dover club, so I rang them to see if they were taking on new members and find out exactly where they were. They told me where they were in Herne Bay, and that I was more than welcome to join the club.

The club was so welcoming and accepting of me that I made new friends straight away.

They’ve always appreciated that I travel from a village near Ashford to Herne Bay – as I rely on public transport it’s two and half hours each way! I have been doing the journey for five years now. The travel doesn’t bother me as I find it's worthwhile to go to.

Boccia is such an amazing sport for people with all sorts of disabilities.

I have been doing the sport for 15 years and I’m still learning new things about the game.

I continue to learn so much about myself and my confidence has grown so much since I started.

I finally feel like I belong somewhere and feel accepted.

When I compete it makes me feel alive. It’s an incredible feeling that it’s hard to explain.

When I win medals it makes me feel like I have achieved something that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do before.

All my life I never thought of becoming an athlete. I was never really athletic in my younger years. I was 18 when I found out about boccia. When I first started, I wanted to join the Paralympics but then I realised I wouldn’t be able to because of the requirements. It’s never put me off playing though, because there are always other ways of competing. I compete in competitions in and around Kent now which I enjoy.

I play either in a team or in singles, but I’ve also played in pairs. It’s amazing to be able to go every week and to improve my skills. We do target practice which I find very useful as it helps to aim and to practice my throws.

The social aspect of boccia is really nice for bonding with your teammates, like going out for Christmas dinners. We also went to see some of the Paralympics first-hand which is a day I will never forget. I have always thought of my teammates as a second family.