Grandad inspires Nicole’s fundraising effort

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AN 11-year-old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome has organised a charity event at a horse show after her grandad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Nicole Pearce, of Thacker’s Way, Deeping St James, decided she wanted to do something to raise money for Cancer Research UK when she found out her grandad had liver cancer.

Deepings School pupil Nicole also lost her best friend to cancer at the age of six. When her grandad was told he only had six to 12 months to live, she was spurred on to organise a fundraising event.

Nicole is a keen horse rider and often competes in showjumping events at Sissons Farm in Peakirk.

She asked farm owner Ann Harris if they could arrange something at one of the farm’s dressage events. Ann agreed and the fundraising event will now run alongside the show on April 1.

Nicole’s mum Emma said organising the event has given the 11-year-old something to focus on.

She said: “Nicole is looking forward to it and is raring to go. She is well on her way with it all and is quite determined.”

Nicole will run a raffle and a cake stall for the event and donations of prizes are already pouring in.

Sissons Farm has agreed that for everyone that enters a class on the day they will donate £1 to the charity.

She has been helped by her older sister Keira, 18, who is a student at New College Stamford.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder that falls within the autistic spectrum.

It is a life-long condition which affects about 1 in 200 people, more commonly in men than women.

Those with Asperger’s Syndrome are usually of average or above average intelligence.

The condition is characterised by difficulties with social interaction, social communication and flexibility of thinking or imagination. In addition, there may be sensory, motor and organisational difficulties.

Mrs Pearce said Nicole loved horses from the moment she first rode one.

She added: “It came about by accident. We went to see my sister-in- law who had been given a horse.

“Nicole had never been on one before but when she was riding she started discussing everything about her life with the horse. She loved it so much.

“She won’t make eye contact with people or talk to the instructor at the riding school but will talk to the ponies. It’s amazing.”

Cancer Research UK’s area volunteer manager for Peterborough, Chloe Higgins, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Nicole has decided to attempt such a huge fundraising challenge at just 11 years old.”

“She has being doing lots of preparation and we’re sure that the event will go really well. We can’t thank her enough for all the effort and support for Cancer Research UK and want to wish her the very best of luck for the big day.”