Flintshire girl defies disability to strike ‘Olympic’ gold

Reporter:

Helen Davies

A YOUNG woman who has endured nearly 30 operations has won triple gold at an ‘Olympic’ equestrian event.

Hannah Bird was born with Apert Syndrome, a condition in which the bones in the skull, hands and feet fuse together.

But this has not deterred the 18-year-old from pursuing her favourite hobby of horse-riding.

Hannah, from Connah’s Quay, competed in the dressage category at the North West ‘Special Olympics’ last week and came away with three gold medals, along with the title of overall champion for dressage.

Next month will witness her 30th operation, this time on her hand.

 Hannah will probably need to continue having surgery into her 20s.

“She’s very brave,” said proud mum Karen. “She takes it all in her stride.

“The riding centre has helped Hannah such a lot. She’s come on leaps and bounds since she joined the riding team and has made some great friends there.”

Hannah told the Leader: “I love riding and animals. I like competing as I love being part of a team and the way everyone supports each other.”

Between them, the team from the Wirral Riding Centre, coached by Pippa Jones, bagged seven gold medals, five silver and three bronze.

“The whole team did really well,” said Karen.

“Aileen and Phil, the managers at the stables, were very helpful getting the horses ready.

"I'd like to say thank you to all the yard staff as well."

The Special Olympics organisation holds regional and national events all over the UK for children and adults with learning disabilities.

Karen added: “The ‘Special Olympics’ is very big in America. It would be nice if it were just as big in the UK.

Hannah trains every week at the riding centre and is also taking a course in small animal care at Northop College.

See full story in the Leader

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