I’ve just returned from a spoon sapping 48hour trip to Nottingham with my friend and PA Andrew. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, I am so very lucky to have him as my PA but I’m even luckier to have him as a friend. The trip was to go and watch an ODI International between England 🏴 and the old enemy Australia 🇦🇺 and the ticket was a gift from Andrew and his family for my 40th birthday.
I’d set as one of my spoonie goals years ago to go and watch a live sporting event in my wheelchair. No big deal you’d think, just book a ticket and go, well its what I always did before my accident. Except it’s not that easy. For one many stadiums despite new regulations aren’t up to standard, including many Premier League football clubs who should be ashamed of themselves. Two, believe it or not I want to go with other people and sit with them in the crowd. I say this because believe it or not I do know a mix of people, I do have friends without disabilities who want to go with me. All too often disabled viewing areas have been an after thought and not well designed so that viewing is obscured, spaces are severely limited and the expenses don’t match the experience. Add to this the overly complicated booking process and the hoops you have to jump through (like sending off evidence of your disability) and it is easy to see why I’ve put off going for so many years. I no longer just ring and book anything and it is frustrating, I understand why but can’t help thinking there is a better way of doing things that takes some of the pressure off. A national system perhaps which means you don’t have to go through the same lengthy process at every venue…… I digress! Back to the fun.
We travelled up to Nottinghamshire and it was a nice easy run, having family close by I knew the route well, we stopped for breakfast on the way and arrived at our travelodge early. They let us check in early and we’re very helpful. Even coming rushing to the room when the alarm was set off whilst Andrew was untangling the cord and attaching a note to say leave this cord untangled!
The weather was good so we decided to walk/wheel to the ground along the river trent. It was easy to find and we were directed to the reception in the Radcliffe Road stand. A quick check of our tickets and we’re told to take the lift behind us to the third floor. I spin round and there is a member of staff holding the lift door open waiting for me. This is all going worryingly smoothly. Third floor out we go and we’re greeted by a lovely man who looks at our tickets and says follow me. On the way he is helpfully asking a few questions and telling us everything we need to know. When I say us, I mean me, he’s actually talking to me not Andrew as so many people do when we are out together. Yes this is my first time, no don’t know where anything is, great there’s the bar, and the disabled toilet, and we exit outside to see the cricket pitch. Along we go to my seating area and Andrew’s seat that is right next to me. I can’t really explain what it is like so I’ll add a couple of photos. We have an amazing view, up high I can see the whole ground and I have plenty of room to put my wheelchair and get comfortable for the match.
England 🏴 didn’t disappoint dispatching balls all over Trent Bridge and scoring a new record high of 481. Eoin Morgan becomes England’s all time run scorer in ODI’s and some of the fastest 50’s and 100’s scored I’m ever likely to see. Couple this with an amazing view, brilliant staff (three times I was asked if I needed anything, this included going to get me food and drinks) who had clearly been trained in understanding how to work with disabled people and make the day enjoyable. If ever there was a shining light, it was shining bright at Trent Bridge, we thoroughly enjoyed the day, were brilliantly looked after and we were treated to an excellent display of cricket.
course there was the odd issue of ignorant people, some standing right in front of me as so often happens at large gatherings, me being in my invisibility chair as people dart infront of me and then wonder why they get their ankles clipped. All in all however the day was excellent, in fact pretty much perfect in every way. We went to get a burger as the last over fell and the masses made their way out. We had a short wait for the lift and as I wheeled in I half trapped someone in the corner who was waiting for the lift to go to the Forth floor not the ground floor. It was none other than Kumar Sangkkara and he was now faced with the unenviable dilemma of being frustrated that he wasn’t going to the floor that he wanted but unable to really moan about it because for me the only way down was in the lift, and let’s face it one of the greatest batsman of recent years could climb a few sets of stairs if he’d wanted. 🤣
Anyway we had our burgers and then took a stroll out of the ground back along the river to our hotel. Undoubtedly this will not be my last visit to Trent Bridge as despite the pain and limited movement today there really has been a lot of thought gone in to making the new stadium accessible, in fact the only thing left for them to make it perfect would be the installation of a full changing places toilet so everyone can be catered for.
The icing on the cake of the trip was meeting my cousin for breakfast the following morning is West Bridgford which also had good access and facilities, time know to update some reviews on trip advisor and Euan’s Guide!