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Swimmer's plea to fulfil dreams

PUBLISHED: 14:34 18 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:20 03 July 2010

A DISABLED teenage swimmer with Olympic ambitions is appealing for help to pursue her promising career and her dreams.

Jessica-Jane Applegate, 13, of Fredrick Road, Gorleston, hopes to compete for the British Paralympic team at London 2012, but needs at least £5,000 to cover the annual cost of her appearances at galas and other swimming events in order to train and qualify.

A DISABLED teenage swimmer with Olympic ambitions is appealing for help to pursue her promising career and her dreams.

Jessica-Jane Applegate, 13, of Fredrick Road, Gorleston, hopes to compete for the British Paralympic team at London 2012, but needs at least £5,000 to cover the annual cost of her appearances at galas and other swimming events in order to train and qualify.

The Oriel High School pupil, who suffers from a range of conditions including autism, learning difficulties and dyslexia, has made light work of her disability and recently achieved a career highlight.

The youngster recorded a time just one and a half seconds behind that set by Lowestoft swimmer Stephanie Bird, who won bronze in the 2007 world swimming championships.

Jessica-Jane's mother Dawn, who has raised her on her own, used to work at cafes in the Great Yarmouth area as well as at Coplands Bakery in Gorleston High Street but had to give up to look after her daughter's complex needs.

She added swimming was essential to her daughter's physical and emotional development as she had struggled to fit in with her peers until she took up the sport.

She said: “Swimming is now Jessica-Jane's life and is essential to both her physical and mental well-being. It prevents the need for further painful physiotherapy sessions and enables her to feel part of something as she attends galas and regular training sessions.”

Jessica-Jane, who has been swimming for three years, rates the 50m freestyle and butterfly as her favourite strokes and attends Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Swimming Club.

Dawn added: “I am very proud, but I am finding it financially impossible to carry on with this and after three years at the club I would not like to see wasted.”

Anyone who would like to help Jessica-Jane reach her goal can call Dawn on 07751 839548.

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