National scheme success for Dylan

SUCCESS: Dylan with Dame Kelly Holmes and AQA chief executive Andrew Hall.
SUCCESS: Dylan with Dame Kelly Holmes and AQA chief executive Andrew Hall.

A YOUNG swimmer chosen for a national project supporting children who face daily adversity has met the top athlete who is mentoring the scheme.

Dylan Hughes, 14, from Liversedge, was just one of 20 young people chosen to take part in the Unlocking Potential programme, developed jointly by the education charity AQA and the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.

And Dylan got to meet Kelly herself at an awards ceremony in London celebrating their achievements.

Dylan, who has cerebral palsy, raised £2,500 with a swim-a-thon at Spen Baths for the Hollybank Trust, which cares for severely disabled children and young people; and to raise awareness of the lack of disabled swimming facilities in the area.

He has been mentored through the programme by former England Rugby League player Paul Broadbent, who encouraged Dylan to speak in his school assembly at Mirfield Free Grammar as well as taking him to meet the chief executive at Leeds Rhinos rugby club.

His mum Claire said: “We met Dame Kelly and we were also invited to a Parliamentary reception hosted by AQA where Dylan was asked a few questions about his project and progress along with another girl from Unlocking Potential. Mike Wood was in attendance too.

“Dylan has to overcome daily adversities but thanks to the programme we have seen his confidence and self belief grow.

“Dylan will now try new things and believes with a little hard work and determination he can achieve his goals.”

Dame Kelly said: “I’m delighted to see the achievements of these young people honoured today.

“My PE teacher identified my talent and set me on the path to achieve my dream of becoming double Olympic champion.

“She went the extra mile to ensure I had the chance to fulfil my potential, and that’s what the teachers of these young people, combined with the support of athletes from my charity, have done on the Unlocking Potential programme.”