The Rwandan Paralympic Team will attend a farewell tea party hosted by Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal on Thursday 23 August.
The team has been using Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre as their Pre Games Training Camp to prepare for the Paralympics and will leave Bury St Edmunds on 24 August for the Paralympic Village in London after attending the Needham Market Paralympic Flame celebration event. Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre is one of only three official London 2012 Pre Games Training Camps in Suffolk and the only Paralympic camp in the county.
The team will get to enjoy tea and cakes in the surroundings of the theatre's Green Room and see some of the people they have met while in the town.
On 13 August members of the public turned out to watch the sitting volleyball team play Team GB in a friendly training game. They visited the Brewery Tap for a talk on the history of Greene King on 14 August. On 15 August they visited the Suffolk Lap of Honour Exhibition at Moyse's Hall Museum which showcases Suffolk's Olympic and Paralympic heritage and attended a community event at Southgate Community Church on 16 August.
The team and the Deputy High Commissioner of Rwanda, Linda Kalimba, were guests of honour at a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Cllr Tim Marks at The Apex on 16 August where they also met Bury St Edmunds Paralympian Brian Alldis and members of the three-man team that cycled from Bury to Rwanda to raise funds for Sport For Rwanda.
Students from Thurston Community College were met and coached by the sitting volleyball team on 17 August at the college. Churchwalk Charities got to show the team their Rwandan celebratory flowerbed in the Abbey Gardens on 18 August before the team watched Bury St Edmunds Football Club play a match against Carshalton Athletic FC. There they were presented with a special football shirt to commemorate their time at the Club.
Paralympian Dominique Bizimana, sitting volley ball player and President of the National Paralympic Committee, said: "On behalf of the Rwandan delegation, it was a pleasure to choose Bury St Edmunds as our training camp before the Paralympic Games. Rwanda chose Bury St Edmunds because the people of town were very friendly and kind. Now the team has arrived, we have the same observation. Wherever we go people are expressing an interest in talking to us. It is not like other countries in Europe where people do not give attention to foreigners, especially from Africa. We are enjoying our training facilities which are different from ours in Rwanda where we train in a hard court with the potential to get injuries with every movement.
"It is my hope that this warm welcome we have received will not end but will continue even after Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will be very happy to see people from Bury St Edmunds visit Rwanda and vice versa."