Let’s Get Leah to Rio campaign gathers pace

Leah Evans.
Leah Evans.

Preparations are being made for a series of events to raise money for the Express’ Let’s get Leah to Rio campaign.

Business leaders and people across the Five Towns are organising different activities to raise money to send wheelchair basketball player Leah Evans to compete in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The 18-year-old, from Townville, needs to raise around £25,000 to cover the cost a new specialist chair and her travel expenses for training and competitions.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper has donated £50 to the appeal and pharmaceutical company Lonza last week pledged £2,000.

Ms Cooper said: “Lots of people have already said they want to support which is fantastic.

“I think it’s a great chance for everyone to do their bit and make sure that Leah doesn’t miss the opportunity.

“I have donated to the campaign because Leah is going to be representing our town as well as our country.

“We don’t want her to be held back by having to miss her training or by not having the best equipment.”

The Express launched the campaign earlier this month.

We are calling on businesses and readers across the Five Towns to back Leah so that she can compete on the greatest sporting stage.

Leah, of Townville, trains for five hours a day and plays for Sheffield Steelers and Team GB.

Despite only starting the sport three years ago she has already won gold with Team GB at the under-25 World Championships in Beijing in July and is a European bronze medallist.

Leah said: “It would be an absolute dream to compete in Rio. I still can’t believe it myself that I might have this opportunity.

“I will be sat watching it on TV with my mum and say how amazing it is and she just says to me that’s what you’re doing.”

The teenager only started playing after being told would need a wheelchair after a fall at the age of 15.

Her mum Dawn Evans said: “The support we’ve had so far has been amazing and we are very grateful for any help we get.”

For more information or if you would like to donate to the Express’ campaign visit the website at https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/letsgetleahtorio