The London Olympics may be well and truly over, but they certainly left an impression on one young Preston sports fan.
Schoolgirl Neve Mattinson, raised almost £2,000 for her school’s charities after being inspired by the 2012 Games.
The 10-year-old spent more than 12 months collecting autographs from leading athletes and has now held a raffle and auction to sell them off - including a polo shirt signed by England and Manchester United player Phil Jones, and photographs from swimmer Rebecca Adlington, cyclist Victoria Pendleton, sailor Sir Ben Ainslie and boxer Amir Khan
The event, held at St Pius X Preparatory School in Fulwood, where Neve is a pupil, attracted keen interest from parents, whose bids for one item alone reached £380. Neve wrote to dozens of sports people asking for support and received a total of 28 signed photographs, many from Olympic medal-winners such as cyclists Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy.
Preston North End players were so impressed by her efforts Neve was invited along to the Deepdale to receive a signed football.
She said: “I feel quite proud. When I was sending the letters I was nervous that I might not get anything.”
The auction, run by Neve’s 14-year-old brother Ben raised a total of £1,950, with the one non-sport item – a Wallace and Gromit photograph and cartoon signed by creator Nick Park – attracting the highest bid.
Headteacher Bridgeen Banks said: “Neve has done a magnificent job.”
The money will go towards two charities in Zambia and Nepal.