The Bury Bombers are a wheelchair basketball team based in Bury St Edmunds that caters for people of all ages and abilities. The Club works from grass roots to National League level with the ethos of Courage, Inspiration, Determination and Equality.
The Club was formed in October 1997 by Jill Anderson, the Rix family and Paula Alldis.
It was originally called The Suffolk Young Braves because of a connection with the
Suffolk Braves, an adult Club from Haverhill. The club started by hiring one third
of the sports hall at the Bury Leisure Centre. Subscriptions were collected from
the members while parents organised some fundraising. However, the Club received
a grant from St Edmundsbury Council, which discounted the Leisure Centre charges
by one third.
The Club’s first matches were at the South Yorkshire Open Championships, held at
Sheffield in August 1998. The Club were able to fully finance this outing, fielding
6 players, 5 of whom were disabled. They played teams from Liverpool, Manchester
and Sheffield and won every pool match.
The next venture was at the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball National Junior Games,
which was held at Stoke Mandeville in September 1998. The Suffolk Young Braves were
the youngest team there, and although they lost most of their matches, they gained
a lot of experience and won trophies for the ‘Most Sporting Team’.
Due to competing in these two competitions, the Club had used up a the majority of
its funds. However, the Bury Round Table came to the rescue, and a charity match
was organised. The Round Table were given chairs to use by the GB Development Manager
(Gordon Perry), and after losing honourably (by a large margin!) to the Young Braves
team, the Round Table handed over a cheque for £700.00.
More good news followed; in March 1999 the Club was awarded a grant of £5000 from
the National Lottery and invited to join the National Development League, to play
teams from around the country. With this grant, the Club was able to purchase a
number of reconditioned wheelchairs plus a new trailer, so transport from match to
match would be much easier. However the Club could not join the league as ‘The Braves’
because that name was already being used.