Mike Penning MP meets Paralympic hopeful

During a visit to Longdean School, local MP Mike Penning met up with Paralympic hopeful Jessica Stretton.

Mike had been contacted by a group of colleagues from the University of Hertfordshire. The Post-Graduate students were studying for a Post-Graduate Certificate in Business and Management through the ‘Making Sense of Leading’ course at the University and were tasked with carrying out a project to help the local community. The group chose to help a local school girl, Jessica Stretton, a 15 year old Paralympic competitor with cerebral palsy. Jessica, who attends Longdean School, was very recently selected to join Archery Great Britain having only been involved in archery for two years. Jess has just returned from Holland where she won a Gold Medal in her first international competition. She is soon heading off to the Czech Republic for a further international competition. Her aim now is to represent GB at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. 

It came to the groups’ attention that Jess needs a new bow for competition which can be very costly. They decided to raise some money to help her buy a new one and support her in her quest to win more medals for Team GB. The group held a fundraising event which raised £130 and set up an online donation website which is currently on £340. The target for this project was £500 to contribute to a new bow and we are so close to hitting it. Any additional donations will be gratefully received via the following link:

Jenny Jones, one of the group members said: “We are so pleased with the results of our community project. We feel we have really helped to make a difference and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Jess and Team GB – Good luck Jess!”

Longdean School Headteacher Graham Cunningham praised the work of the University of Hertfordshire in supporting Jess: “Jess has worked incredibly hard to reach her goals. She has balanced her GCSE studies with training and competition. Her parents and sister have given hours and driven miles to support her ambition to represent Great Britain and I thank the students at Hertfordshire University for raising this money to provide Jess with the best equipment available.”

Mike Penning said: “I was delighted to meet Jessica and I wish her every success and would encourage anyone who would like to support her to visit her fundraising page.

“I am a great sports enthusiast and it is fantastic to see Jessica’s determination and commitment. She is an inspiration to many young people.”