Paralympic star to present award to young achiever

Photo Neil Cross'Chorley Paralympic silver medallist Graeme Ballard
Photo Neil Cross'Chorley Paralympic silver medallist Graeme Ballard
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A Paralympic star will present an award at an event recognising the success of young people in Lancashire.

Graeme Ballard, from Chorley, will present the ‘Improving Lives’ award at Lancashire’s ‘Celebrate Youth’ evening on February 18.

In May 2012, while competing in the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, Graeme, 33, became the first athlete with cerebral palsy to break 12 seconds in the 100 metres.

And at the London 2012 Paralympics, Graeme, who runs for Horwich RMI Athletics Club, added to his world record by winning a silver medal, joining the bronze medal he won in the T36 200m in Athens.

Organised by Lancashire County Council’s young people’s service, the ‘Celebrate Youth’ event, at Park Hall Hotel, Charnock Richard, will see six youngsters recognised in the categories of Community Engagement, Beyond Barriers, Inspiring Volunteering or Advocacy, Sporting Achievement, Artistic Achievement and Improving Lives.

The awards will be presented by celebrities and VIPs.

Each award winner will receive a prize and there will also be an overall ‘Pinnacle Award’ winner on the night.

Graeme said: “I’m really honoured to have been asked to present an award.

“I’m very much looking forward to attending the awards evening and hearing about all the amazing things young people in Lancashire have been doing.”

County Councillor Mark Perks, Lancashire’s cabinet member for young people, said: “The ‘Celebrate Youth’ event really is shaping up to be something that will inspire everyone who attends.

“Graeme’s sporting achievements are amazing.

“It’s such a great honour to have a world record holder from Lancashire presenting one of the awards.

“Just like Dave Clarke, the former captain of England’s blind football team who is presenting the Beyond Barriers Award, Graeme continues to demonstrate the highest levels of commitment and determination that have resulted in great sporting success.”