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Disabled athlete's funding boost

PUBLISHED: 12:39 30 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:29 30 June 2010

Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club fundraisers present a cheque to Jessica Jane Applegate.

Yarmouth and Caister Golf Club fundraisers present a cheque to Jessica Jane Applegate.

IT was a case of 2012 being the lucky numbers for one aspiring athlete as she came one big step closer to achieving her dream.

Record-breaking swimmer Jessica Jane Applegate received a huge boost in her efforts to compete in the London Paralympics when Caister Golf Club raised £2,012 - the year in which the Olympics go ahead - for her cause on Friday.

IT was a case of 2012 being the lucky numbers for one aspiring athlete as she came one big step closer to achieving her dream.

Record-breaking swimmer Jessica Jane Applegate received a huge boost in her efforts to compete in the London Paralympics when Caister Golf Club raised £2,012 - the year in which the Olympics go ahead - for her cause on Friday.

More than 70 golfers paid £25 each for a day's game of Texas Scramble, in which teams of four players tee off at the same time, and then held a raffle where bottles of whisky and vouchers were won.

Needing at least £5,000 to compete at swimming events in order to train and qualify for the Paralympics, 13-year-old Jessica of Gorleston, has so far benefited from free fitness training and a £300 donation from a radio station.

The student at Oriel High School was taking the figure raised as a good omen for the future and said: “I didn't expect this much money, it's amazing that they've managed to raise so much. I'm taking it as a bit of a sign for things to come.”

Reflecting on her recent destruction of seven swimming records, including the 200m freestyle, at recent events at Thetford and Sheffield, she added she couldn't believe it but wanted to “clean up” at the next gala.

Mum Dawn, said they were hoping she would get spotted by the scouts from the British swimming team but emphasised that Jessica, who recently had an operation on her feet, needed time.

She said: “Jessica hasn't got the experience for 2012 just yet but she's working hard. If she's spotted she will be put on a training programme and given money every year to compete. The amount raised today was absolutely fantastic, though.”

The day went ahead after organisers heard about Jessica, who suffers from a range of conditions including autism, learning difficulties and dyslexia, and they were inspired by her dream of competing in two years' time.

With the bad weather holding off, the day's golfing began at 9am and carried on until 1.15pm, with the team of S Basey, B Humphries, S Tungate and T Voss finishing victorious and M Share winning the nearest the pin.

Following the raffle, which contributed £662 to the final total, Jessica and her mother arrived to be presented with a giant cheque by club captain Tim Starbuck.

He said: “We avoided the worst of the weather and I think someone was looking down on us. There was a great turn up and the amount raised was incredible. We've done similar things before for the James Paget Hospital and we're quite prepared to do more things like this. The club is not just about golf, but sociable golf and if people have a specific charity I'm sure we can organise something.”

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