Talented teenagers launch fundraising drive to achieve sporting dream

Sam Burton and Abbi Gray.
Sam Burton and Abbi Gray.
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Two talented teenagers are appealing for sponsorship to help fund the sporting trip of a lifetime.

Sixteen-year-olds Sam Burton and Abbie Gray have both been selected to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games.

The prestigious event is taking place in March 2019 in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and the duo – who both live in Oakham – need to raise £2,500 each to fund the trip.

They have launched a series of fundraising initiatives to help towards reaching their goal, but are also appealing for any extra help for their memorable journey.

Sam and Abbie said: “We are thrilled to have been picked for the Great Britain teams.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to represent our country and raise awareness of special needs.

“It will also help to further develop our confidence and social skills.”

Sam and Abbie are both members of the Rutland Conquerors inclusive basketball team where they shot to prominence.

They featured along with fellow club members – Chris Southwell, Edward Sowter, Sophie Garfoot and Joshua Darlington – for the East Midlands team at the Special Olympics in Sheffield.

Sam bagged a bronze medal for his exploits while Abbie returned home with a gold and both put their names forward for selection for the Special Olympics World Games.

The New College Stamford students were notified recently of their successful selection and are now setting out on the fundraising trail.

Sam said: “I wasn’t expecting to be selected so I was very pleased when I received the news and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Abbie added: “We both just started out doing this as a hobby so it’s great to be selected. We are both hoping to go further in the sport and this is the next stage for us.”

The pair are following in the footsteps of Conquerors colleague Chris Southwell who competed in the 2015 event in Los Angeles.

To help towards their fundraising, a sponsored basketball dribble for 17 miles around Rutland Water is being organised as well as a cake sale and tombola on Oakham market.

Sam and Abbie continued: “We are very much hoping that people might be willing to offer their support by either sponsoring us or offering a prize.

“Any donations to help us would be very much appreciated.”

Anyone interested in helping Sam and Abbie can visit the fundraising page www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sam-abbie