Well known figures from the England Performance Group (EPG) and national competitive boccia scene are celebrating with their mums this Mother’s Day by writing about the bonds they’ve forged whilst enjoying their favourite sport over the years. Six athletes and their mums recall touching moments, from training camps and competitions to international trips, where together they experienced celebrations, setbacks, different cultures and cities, medal ceremonies and more.

Featured in the special celebration are athletes Tia Ruel (BC1); James Clowes (BC2) and BC3 athletes Matt Berry, Lee Maddison, Cecilia Turk, Beth Moulam and their mums.

From starting their own boccia clubs to travelling all over Europe each of the six stories demonstrate how the athlete-mother relationship has blossomed over the years thanks to a shared loved for and involvement in the sport. You can read the full stories here.


“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my mum for everything she does for me and how she has supported me through my boccia journey and continuing to do so. Happy Mother’s Day Mum,” writes James.


Fellow EPG team mate Lee credits his mum’s dedication in getting him back on the squad for the third time in his career:

“My Mam became my coach and mentor, and as a team we built me back up again and got me reselected for England for a third time. I haven’t looked back since,” he admits.


Beth says that boccia has become a family affair and is the talk of the table at teatime.

“Mum encouraged me (and Dad) to do the community coach and community official awards in 2008, and before I was playing at a top level we would all officiate at events.  Mum qualified as a national referee first, but Dad soon caught up and they both now qualified Head Referees.  Knowing the rules has been invaluable on my boccia journey and tea-time in the Moulam household would often see us discussing the intricacies of all manner of boccia from strategy to tactics and rules.”

Reading the stories you’ll discover things you never knew about some recognisable characters from the world of boccia.

Cecilia Turk’s mum, Cass, for instance, became an international referee because her nerves are too much to take when watching Ce on court.

“In my heart, of course I am with Ce every step of the way. I am immensely proud of what she has achieved as an athlete, especially that she is still as committed as the day she aspired to winning her first medal. I will continue to wave the flag and cheer her on, but only in spirit and certainly not visually. Cecilia knows just how much I am rooting for her in every match. I am just too emotional to watch.”

Melissa Paulden, mum to Tia, admits that looking back, she sees just how powerful the sport has been in shaping both hers and Tia’s lives over the years:

“I realise now, when I look back across our years, that I grew when she did; I made friends when she did; I experienced the people, the places, the emotions that she did; I came out of my comfort zone when she did.

It’s taken me a while but I realise now that it wasn’t me who was guiding Tia’s hand all along -  she was in fact guiding mine.”

Every boccia athlete has their own story to tell of amazing parents who have helped them forge ahead in their favourite sport – and it is a role that each parent wears with pride, as Matt Berry’s mum, Sue, testifies.

“When you have a disabled child, you hope for the best for them, but never in your wildest dreams do you think that they will one day win gold medals representing their country around the world and that you will be a part of that.

As his Mum, and on-court assistant, I have been privileged to share in his achievements, been proud to see how revered and respected he is by players and officials alike and been in awe of his professionalism and sportsmanship both on and off the court.

Matt's love of boccia and his total commitment to the sport has enriched my life in so many ways. I thoroughly enjoy being his on-court assistant in high-level competitions and thrive on the pressure to be the best I can be to ensure that Matt does well.”