The Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Earl Church, Debbie Willows and Doug Wilton are the most recent inductees into the CCPSA Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held on March 1st, 2008 during the 2008 Canadian Boccia Championships in London, Ontario.
Dr. Earl Church - Coach
In 1989, Dr. Earl Church was a well known and respected athletics coach in Niagara, when he was introduced to the world of Paralympic sport by CCPSA Hall of Fame athlete Joanne (Bouw) Berdan in 1989. From this beginning, his involvement grew over the next nineteen years to include coaching at the 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004 Paralympic Games, in addition to many World Championships and other international events. He has had a hand in the development of most, if not all, of the current crop of national team throwers. Many of the athletes coached by Dr. Church have earned world and Paralympic medals. And yet, it is when he is working with up and coming athletes that he really shines, often providing the boost they need to make it to the next level.
Debbie Willows - Athlete
From 1981 to 1991, Debbie Willows was a multi-sport athlete who represented Canada numerous times on the world stage. Always a fine competitor, Debbie was involved in several sports - swimming, slalom, wheelchair soccer and boccia. Her first International Boccia event was in 1984 in New York, where she won a bronze medal in the women’s CP1 category (women and men participated separately at that time). She also competed at the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, Korea. In swimming Debbie set a Canadian and World record in the 50m backstroke in 1986 in Belgium. She broke this record in 1990 in Assen.
When she retired from competing, Debbie trained as an International Boccia referee. She was the first boccia athlete in the world to do so. Her officiating career included the 1992 and 1996 Paralympic Games.
Doug Wilton - Builder
In 1985, Doug Wilton was one of the founding members of the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association. Prior to the official formation of CCPSA, he worked tirelessly towards the goal of a national organization for many years.
After CCPSA was formed, Doug continued to be involved in many aspects of sport for people with disabilities. In addition to coaching, he was a successful event host, administrator and classifier. He was part of the team that changed the first classification system to a functional system based on a range of motion and speed of movements. This led eventually to the system that still exists today.
Doug’s dedication, persistence and vision ensured that Canadian athletes with cerebral palsy were recognized at a national and international level years before there was a national cerebral palsy sports organization. Canadian teams led by Doug maintained high codes of conduct, strict commitment to training, and recognized the importance of athletes with more severe disabilities. Along with his fellow Canadian coaches and athletes, Doug helped to dispel the myth that people with cerebral palsy were not able to train, compete and succeed, laying the groundwork for the impressive performances of today.