Mirfield teen one of 20 in UK chosen for Dame Kelly Holmes programme

SUCCESS: Dylan Hughes with his mentor, former England Rugby League player Paul Broadbent.
SUCCESS: Dylan Hughes with his mentor, former England Rugby League player Paul Broadbent.

A COURAGEOUS teen with cerebral palsy has been selected as one of only 20 young people on a UK mentoring programme.

Dylan Hughes, 14, was chosen for the AQA Unlocking Potential programme run by the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.

The six month scheme aims to help and encourage children who face daily adversity to realise their full potential.

Dylan’s mum, Claire, said he was being mentored by former England Rugby League player Paul Broadbent, who had encouraged Dylan to speak in his school assembly at Mirfield Free Grammar.

She said as part of the project Dylan had to organise a community scheme. He chose a swim-a-thon to highlight the lack of disabled swimming facilities in the area – and last weekend Dylan swam with 20 other children, both disabled and able bodied, at Spen Pool.

Claire said: “After Dylan was diagnosed we were told he wouldn’t walk or talk – but he is nearly 6ft tall and doing well.

“He did disabled lessons at Spen Pool and completed two miles – but the swimming coach left and was never replaced so it’s no longer available. This is why he has chosen this for his project.”

As part of the scheme, Dylan will get to meet Dame Kelly Holmes, and Claire said because he is doing so well he has been chosen to go to the Houses of Parliament to ask for funding for the AQA Unlocking Potential scheme for next year.

She said: “He has worked very hard in his life to overcome his disabilities, including four operations and intensive physiotherapy. He plays for Cleckheaton Rugby Club junior section, where he was awarded club player of the year.

“Paul Broadbent comes up nearly every week and works with him in school. He took him to see Leeds Rhinos where he met the chief executive.

“We’ve seen a great change in his confidence.”

Dylan, who lives in Liversedge is also raising money for the Hollybank Trust and he’s raised £1,400 by himself.

Visit www.justgiving.com/dylanhughes to help him.