Sailor Hi­lary launches fund for dis­abled sports

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

IN­SPI­RA­TIONAL sailor Hi­lary Lis­ter of­fi­cially launched a new fund­ing scheme to help dis­abled peo­ple from Ash­ford achieve their sport­ing dreams.

Ex­actly 1,000 days be­fore the start of the Lon­don 2012 Par­a­lympics, Hi­lary un­veiled the Ac­tive Ash­ford Dis­abil­ity Bur­saryat Ash­ford De­signer Out­let Cen­tre last week. She will be pa­tron of the fund.

Hi­lary was struck down by the de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease re­flex sym­pa­thetic dys­tro­phy aged just 15 but be­came the first fe­male quad­ri­plegic to sail around the UK, us­ing a spe­cially con­structed boat that al­lowed her to con­trol the ves­sel by blow­ing or suck­ing air through two plas­tic tubes.

The bur­sary, run by Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil and spon­sored by the de­signer out­let cen­tre, will give dis­abled peo­ple across the bor­ough the chance to take part in var­i­ous sports and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, whether they are new­com­ers or trained per­form­ers need­ing some ex­tra as­sis­tance.

Hi­lary said: “It’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant that there is a sep­a­rate sports bur­sary for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

“They of­ten find it more ex­pen­sive to train and to at­tend com­pe­ti­tions than the able-bod­ied.” De­signer Out­let man­ager David Mad­di­son pre­sented Hi­lary and Ac­tive Ash­ford with a cheque for £3,500 to­wards the bur­sary, and pledged his long-term sup­port for the scheme.

He said: “Hi­lary is a true in­spi­ra­tion and she will be able to rely on our con­tin­ued sup­port in the vi­tal years lead­ing up to the 2012 Olympics.”

The bur­sary will help dis­abled sports­peo­ple meet the costs of trav­el­ling, coach­ing, equip­ment and en­trance fees to events and com­pe­ti­tions, as well as in­tro­duc­ing Ash­ford’s sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties to peo­ple who pre­vi­ously felt un­able to use them.

Chair of Ac­tive Ash­ford Gra­ham Galpin added: “The amaz­ing achieve­ments of our pa­tron Hi­lary Lis­ter should act as an ex­am­ple to dis­abled sports­peo­ple to utilise the bur­sary so that they can achieve their sport­ing goals.”

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the bur­sary, visit the web­site www.ac­tiveash­ford.co.uk or call 01233 330232.

David Mad­di­son, Ash­ford De­signer Out­let, Gra­ham Galpin, chair­man of Ac­tive Ash­ford, Si­mon Har­ris, the coun­cil’s co-or­di­na­tor for Ac­tive Ash­ford, and Hi­lary Lis­ter

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