AS the country gears up for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, nearly 1,300 young people from Mid Devon will be taking part in their very own festival of sport next week.

Youngsters from all over the county are coming together in Torbay for the Devon Winter School Games.

Schoolchildren aged between nine and 16 will take part in a day-long event involving eight activities at Paignton Community and Sports College and Torbay Leisure Centre on Wednesday.

Some 1,230 competitors will represent their schools and one of|seven area teams with children|from Tiverton High School and Queen Elizabeth Community College, Crediton, among those competing.

The event is being hosted by Torbay Sports Partnership as part of a three-year programme and is designed to be as inclusive as possible.

Alongside mainstream competitions, there are categories for children with severe and moderate learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural problems and physical disabilities.

School and community sport partners from throughout Devon have come together on a local organising committee to oversee the programme and has successfully bid for £320,000 of National Lottery funding from Sport England.

The Torbay event will get under way with a colourful opening ceremony and each school will parade in with flags and banners, the children dressed in different coloured T-shirts to represent their area of the county.

Youngsters will compete in a variety of events including badminton, boccia, cyclo-cross, seven-a-side football, netball, tag rugby, table tennis and volleyball.

Matt Evans, chief executive of the County Sports Partnership, Active Devon, said: “We are really excited about the event and it will be the ‘starting gun’ for a programme of wonderful opportunities for young people of all abilities throughout Devon.”