Gorleston Paralympic record holder to represent Mencap

Jessica-Jane Applegate in a pool.

Jessica-Jane Applegate is one of 18 people to be newly selected as one of Mencap's Myth Busters. - Credit: Mencap

A Paralympic gold medallist from Gorleston has taken on a new ambassadorial role alongside her existing work for a British charity.

Mencap - the learning disability charity - has welcomed swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate - alongside 17 other people from the learning disability community - to take on a new role for the charity.

Jessica-Jane Applegate in an empty Tokyo.

Jessica-Jane Applegate at Tokyo 2020. - Credit: Jessica-Jane Applegate

This group of people - called The Myth Busters - are all living with a learning disability. Through their work with Mencap, they will be challenging wider stigmas and misconceptions about what living with a learning disability looks like.

Miss Applegate has swum competitively in three Paralympic Games. Not only does she boast a collection of gold medals to her name but she is also a world record holder. Miss Applegate has worked on several parliamentary campaigns alongside Mencap and has been one of their ambassadors for nine years.

Miss Applegate said: “I’m excited to be a Myth Buster because I want to show the world that not all people with a learning disability look the same. Just because I may not look like I have a learning disability, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

She has also been invited to trial for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which has allowed female athletes with a learning disability to compete in the S14 classification. 

Jessica-Jane Applegate by the Olympic pool.

Jessica-Jane Applegate won Gold (and broke the world record) in S14 4 x 100m mixed freestyle relay at Tokyo 2020. - Credit: Jessica-Jane Applegate

Last year, Mencap released statistics which revealed that two thirds of people in the UK cannot correctly identify a learning disability as a reduced intellectual ability, with 40pc of people thinking it is dyslexia and 28pc believing it to relate to a mental health issue.

Most Read

The survey also revealed two in five people had not seen someone with a learning disability in the media in the past year, with a third saying they would feel more comfortable talking to someone with a learning disability if they saw them featured more often in the media.

Mencap and the Myth Busters hope that by showcasing this diverse mix of people as ambassadors and giving them all a platform to talk about what living life with a learning disability means to them, they’ll increase the visibility of people with a learning disability not only in the media but also in wider society.

For more information on the launch of The Myth Busters visit: mencap.org.uk/mythbusters