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Inspiring Lucy Gets £350 Award to Help Her Compete at Deaflympics

Posted: Thu, 18 May 2017

Inspiring Lucy Gets £350 Award to Help Her Compete at Deaflympics

Lucy Sharp, age 16, from Sileby, is a talented young sportswoman and has been selected to be a part of the Great Britain team for the Deaflympics, to be held in Turkey in July.

Inspire Awards are small grants handed out by local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), to inspirational young people, helping them to fulfill their ambitions in sports, music, community enterprise and business.

Lucy – who swims with Loughborough Town Swimming Club – developed tinnitus around the time of her 13th birthday, and within a matter of months had lost her hearing completely. At the time she was an 'average level' swimmer at her club.

On becoming deaf, she lost a lot of confidence and experienced balance and co-ordination problems that caused her swimming to deteriorate.

Undeterred, she has striven to overcome her disability. Unable to hear the coaches, she worked with them to develop forms of communication to enable her to continue swimming in a mainstream setting and in the past year she has improved dramatically, surpassing her peers.

Lucy is at a distinct disadvantage against other swimmers at the start of 'able bodied' races because she has to look across to the starter for a hand signal or infrared light to start the race. This costs valuable time on the start, particularly in sprint racing, but in spite of this, Lucy broke the 50m freestyle club record for her age group last year and also currently holds national deaf age group records in 50m Backstroke and 50m Butterfly.

Recently, Lucy competed in the Great Britain Deaf Swimming Club national age group competition and came away with several gold medals.

Lucy said: "We have to raise our own funds to go as the deaf swimming team receives minimal funding. Each team member's cost is around £2,500.

"I'm working really hard to train for this event and am thrilled to have been given this amazing opportunity. The £350 Inspire Award will be a massive help as it will ease some of the financial burden and will enable me to concentrate on training."

Simon Taylor, Inspire Awards lead for the JHMT, said: "I can't imagine what it must have been like for Lucy to suddenly become deaf. It is remarkable how quickly she adapted to her new disability and she has worked very hard to achieve academic success as well as making dramatic improvements in her swimming.

"Lucy also has an older sister with physical and intellectual special needs. Throughout all her own troubles, Lucy has continued to 'look out' for her 19-year-old sister, going above and beyond the duties of a younger sibling. She is truly inspirational.

"Lucy's personal journey is an example to us all. The Inspire judges took particular delight in making this £350 award to someone who typifies what our awards scheme is all about."

Joe Humphries died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome aged just 14 in October 2012, whilst out running near his family home in Rothley, Leicestershire. Since then, his family and friends have set up the JHMT and worked tirelessly to campaign for a better understanding of sudden, unexpected cardiac death in young people. They have campaigned for compulsory CPR training in schools and defibrillators in schools, community venues and sports clubs, as well as setting up the Inspire Awards.

To find out more about the work of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, visit www.jhmt.org.uk

Tags: Inspire