Lauren’s dream of appearing at Special Olympics

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A proud mum is appealing for help to send her daughter to the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Lauren (Loz) Douce, 13, has been selected for Great Britain’s gymnastics team for the showpiece event in March 2019, but must find £2,500 to travel to the United Arab Emirates.

Her mum, Carol Aitchison, said: “Lauren loves gymnastics and it is fabulous news that she has been selected.

“To represent her country and wear a GB tracksuit is her dream, but Lauren needs funding help to go to the Games.

“£2,500 is a lot of money and there is the cost of attending other major championships too.”

The teenager competes at national level in disability gymnastics and trampolining.

Originally from Gainsborough and now living in Knaith Park, she trains with Retford Gymnastics Club 11 hours a week. Lauren also puts in hours of swimming and trampolining work weekly.

She has been developing her trampolining and gymnastic skills since she was five, guided by coach Stacie Ridley.

“Stacie has seen the potential in Lauren and opened all the doors for her,” said Carol.

“Lauren believes in her and Stacey’s backing has got Lauren to where she is — their relationship is second to none.”

Last year the youngster won silver overall out of the mixed disability class three group at the Special Olympics Sheffield National Games — having won two golds and two bronzes — and also competed at the British Championships Disability Masters competition, an event she will be returning to in March.

Lauren has been winning medals for her gymnastic and trampolining ability since she was just five.

Now the 13-year-old needs your help to send her to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games after she was selected for the GB team.

Her mum, Carol Aichison, said: “Lauren has done amazingly well. She has performed at the British Championships for several years running, for example, but we have to find £2,500 to get her to the next level — the Special Olympics — as it is all self-funded.

“It is an amazing opportunity for her. She has put a lot of work in to get this far and is achieving so much.”

Lauren is supported by her family, including her dad, Carol’s partner, Mark, and older brother, Matthew.

Last year she gained success at the British Championships, finishing fifth in the competition for people with all disabilities — and met GB gymnast legends Ellie and Becky Downie.

She will return to the national championships in March after being selected in the top six in the country, competing alongside the GB team.

Lauren, who has a learning disability, attends Christ’s Hospital School, Lincoln.

Anyone who wants to help send her to the Special Olympics World Games can make a donation at www.gofundme.com/fnhng-special-olympics-world-games