Swimmer’s dedication rewarded
A woman who was determined to prove herself in swimming circles despite a learning disability has been nominated for a young person of the year award.
Miss Leah Halpin has represented her country at the sport and works as a pool assistant at Bingham Leisure Centre.
She has been nominated for an award from the SkillsTrain Young People Of The Year in Nottinghamshire, which recognises and rewards positive role models.
Miss Halpin (23) of Hoeview Road, Cropwell Bishop, could win £1,000.
She said: “Swimming has helped me socially. I have made lots of friends. It has boosted my confidence and independence, particularly when I have travelled to competitions.
“I’m determined to prove what I can do, even if it takes some time, rather than think about what I cannot do.”
She was nominated for the award by her mother, Mrs Carol Halpin, who said: “If she gets the right support and guidance she can learn things — it just takes longer. But she is keen to learn.”
Miss Halpin started swimming at eight with Bingham Penguins Club, which helps youngsters with disabilities to swim.
Mrs Halpin said her daughter had dedicated herself to not only training for competitions, but for 18 months had been training as a swimming teacher and a lifeguard.
Miss Halpin, who frequently sets personal bests, has travelled with the Nottinghamshire County Council elite squad and the GB squad for people with learning difficulties.
Miss Halpin works part-time as an assistant swimming teacher with the local school swimming programme, which includes one-to-one teaching of children with special educational needs, and is a part-time pool attendant.
She volunteers with Bingham Penguins and helps Nottinghamshire County Council at sporting events, particularly helping young disabled people.
Miss Halpin was recently appointed an ambassador for disability sport by the county council.
Mrs Halpin said: “Leah is very determined to see through anything that she sets her mind to.”
“There are difficulties sometimes but as parents we support her and are proud of what she has achieved.”
Miss Halpin was named disabled sportsperson of the year in the Rushcliffe Sports Awards earlier this year.
The county council will host the awards ceremony in December.