Emily Caffrey from Harrogate raised over £1800 after competing at her first ever triathlon earlier this year.
Emily, who has cerebral palsy, raised the money for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund at the Yorkshire Ability Triathlon. The event in May, hosted by Leeds Beckett University, gave 30 children with a range of disabilities the opportunity to try swim, bike, run.
Her amazing achievement and fundraising efforts didn’t go unnoticed and just last month she was named Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards Sporting Superstar in her age group category.
Emily completed a 50 metre swim, 1500 metre bike ride, finishing off with an 800 metre run. Her mum, Hannah, said: “This was Emily’s first triathlon and a first in our family – no-one else in our immediate family has ever taken part in one either.
“The event was shared with us by a friend who thought Emily might like to try it. Emily has always enjoyed challenging herself and loves to raise money to help others when she can, so she was well up for the challenge.
“Choosing the distances was probably the most difficult part as we needed it to be a challenge for Emily but without breaking her as, first and foremost, we wanted her to enjoy it. Having the freedom to choose the distances for each discipline was the real selling point for us to put Emily in the event.”
As well as being her first triathlon, this was the first time Emily had been able to take part in a sporting event that had been fully accessible for her and other children and adults with disabilities.
“Events like this are unimaginably important,” Hannah explained. “Emily is ten and this was the first properly inclusive event that we had ever come across for her. To have an event like this, fully accessible for both children and adults of all abilities and disabilities is invaluable and I hope that the hard work and dedication may encourage other similar organisations to try and put on other events of this nature.
“Emily was overjoyed at just completing the challenge. The run was by far the hardest for her and it took a lot of encouragement to get her over the finish line, predominantly from her little sister running in with her whilst being cheered on by lots of family friends and all the volunteers and organisers!”
Commenting on Emily’s award, Hannah said: “Unbeknownst to us, because of her achievements at the triathlon, Emily was nominated for the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards Sporting Superstar award (0-13yrs). We received a phone call early September telling us she had been shortlisted and inviting us to the awards ceremony at New Dock Hall, Leeds.
“On 13 October we attended the awards ceremony, a very formal and glamorous black tie event with over 700 people attending, including TV personalities and sporting superstars as well as all the corporate sponsors.
“Amazingly, Emily won her category for her achievements in the triathlon and was awarded her trophy by none other than Hannah Cockcroft OBE.”
Emily plans to be back on the start line for the Yorkshire Ability Triathlon again in 2024 and Hannah has urged other families to get involved.
“Definitely do it, don’t just think about it. The whole team will make you feel incredibly welcome, and the sense of pride and achievement you will get from either taking part or watching your loved ones taking part will be immense.
“Emily will definitely be back to do the Yorkshire Ability tri in 2024, however, there are also plans afoot for Emily to take on another challenge before then, helping a dear friend to raise money for another very deserving cause.”
The Yorkshire Ability Triathlon will return in 2024. More details will be available in the New Year.