Paralympics inspires Lydia to go for gold
AN EAST Yorkshire girl has competed in the UK's biggest athletics event for visually impaired children.
Lydia Wrightson, of Wilberfoss, near Pocklington, was one of 150 youngsters to compete in the event.
The ten-year-old was born 16 weeks premature, which resulted in her being blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other.
Graham Wrightson, Lydia's dad, said he was very proud of his daughter's achievements.
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"Seeing Lydia enjoying her sport and with her a smile on her face was fantastic," he said.
"Her progression since the trauma of her birth has been amazing and we are all so proud of her.
"She has always been interested in sport and for her to be able to take part in an event on this scale is great.
"Events like this are so important for children like Lydia and I can't thank the organisers enough."
Lydia was supported by Graham, her mum, Andrea, and her brother, Elliot, who is a volunteer for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
She competed in the 60m sprint, the high jump, the long jump, the javelin and the relay at the event, held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Lydia, who attends Wilberfoss Primary School, said: "It was a brilliant day.
"The Paralympic Games made me want to do sport. I was at the stadium in London when Oscar Pistorius won his gold medal and I met the captain of Team GB's blind football team."
The event, which was run by Action for Blind People and sponsored by Boots Opticians, involved young athletes from across the north of England and the Midlands.
Lydia is a member of Hull Actionnaires – one of 29 multi-activity clubs for blind and partially sighted children.
Lesley Inganni, development manager at Action for Blind People, said: "Every year, the event gets bigger and better and we were delighted to return to the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
"You never know, these children could be Paralympians of the future.
"We're extremely grateful to have had Boots Opticians as sponsor and the support of British Blind Sport, with some of their young members joining our Actionnaires in the athletics."
The Actionnaires clubs are open to blind and partially sighted children aged four to 16.
The clubs provide opportunities for them to develop their fitness and artistic skills, while encouraging self-confidence and social interaction.
Actionnaires is one of Action for Blind People's services for children and young people, which also include access to information, activity weeks and support groups for parents.
For more information about the clubs, visit www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/children or call 0303 123 9999.