Sally Phillips’ Down’s syndrome son turned away from trampoline park

Sally Phillips and her son Olly at a film premiere in 2022
Sally Phillips with her son Olly, who she says was not allowed to go trampolining - Dave Benett/WireImage

Actress Sally Phillips has said she was “upset” that her son, who has Down’s syndrome, was denied access to a trampoline park.

The comedian, 53, known for the sketch show Smack The Pony and her role in Bridget Jones’s Diary, revealed this week her child Olly was not allowed to play at Oxygen Acton in London.

Phillips says the company refused him entrance because someone with Down’s syndrome needs a letter from the GP.

She told BBC Breakfast on Friday: “Olly is used to being able to do what his contemporaries [do] ... so we went with his younger brother and younger brother’s friend, and we’ve been hundreds of times before, and the lady on the desk says, ‘oh, sorry, can I have a word?’ and called the manager over ... I was so, so upset for Olly to be prevented.”

She added that “they’re weeding out people with visible disabilities” and “so if you have an invisible disability, you’re not required to bring in a doctor’s letter”.

Sally Phillips stands in a garden
Sally Phillips is the patron of the Down's Syndrome Association - Eddie Mulholland

As a member of the British Gymnastics Association, she said Olly has previously had an X-ray to test for neck instability issues but this “didn’t give the information required” to take part in these types of activities.

Phillips, who is a patron of the Down’s Syndrome Association, said: “So, either you’re using NHS resources to get an appointment with the doctor for a private company and their insurance, or you’re needing to pay for a doctor’s letter, which means that this sort of admin burden on special needs parents, just to be part of the community ... to do a normal thing, to take normal risks that everyone is allowed to take is just unbearable.”

Sally Phillips's son Olly pictured on Instagram
Sally Phillips's son Olly is a member of the British Gymnastics association - Instagram

Asked about Oxygen Activeplay telling BBC Breakfast that they were sorry and asked for their input to review the current guidance, she said she does not think it is “fair” for special needs parents to make the changes but would help the firm. “They will allow us to do the work for them to change, whereas actually I think they need to educate themselves,” she added.

Phillips has campaigned on Down’s syndrome issues and released A World Without Down’s Syndrome?, about the debate on screening tests that detect it in pregnancies, on the BBC.

Oxygen Activeplay has been asked for further comment.