A WIRRAL basketball team are gearing up to travel to Sheffield to take part in this year's Special Olympics.

Hoylake Wildcats are the only basketball team representing the North West and last year they finished fourth.

Taking place from 7 to August 12 the event is the country's largest multi-sports competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. 

Around 2,600 athletes of all ages and abilities will come together from across the country over four days of competition.

They will be supported by 800 coaches, 1000 volunteers, 200 officials and more than 7,000 family and friends.

Hoylake Wildcats coach Jon Spindler, a support worker for people with learning disabilities, told the Globe: “We’re going to Sheffield to do the very best that we can.

"It is a great honour for us to be representing the north-west.

"The team is very excited and we have been doing a lot of team building exercises in training this week.

"We are on facebook and twitter, and it would be great if people could track our progress and show their support via social media using the hashtag #seeingisbelieving.”

A key supporter of the team Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood said: "I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Hoylake Wildcats the very best of luck for the tournament.

"I have been to see them train and I know just how talented the team is.

"They work incredibly hard and I know how much they are looking forward to the big occasion.

"The Hoylake Wildcats are run and coached by a wonderful team of volunteers.

"Let’s hope they can bring back the gold medal to Wirral.”