Race to get Megan to US

FUNDRAISER:n Paul Dickson with Megan Atkinson
FUNDRAISER:n Paul Dickson with Megan Atkinson

AN assistant headteacher is due to get in the saddle for a gruelling trek in aid of a talented student who excels at swimming.

Paul Dickson, who works at St Bede’s Catholic Comprehensive School, in Peterlee, where Megan Atkinson, 12, is a student, is due to take part in a three-day Coast to Coast bike-ride from Saturday to Monday.

Mr Dickson is due to spend his 41st birthday on the first day of the mammoth ride, which he is doing to raise funds to help get Megan to Michigan, in the USA, to take part in the 2013 World Dwarf Games.

Megan has achondroplasia, the same condition as London 2012 gold medal heroine Ellie Simmonds.

But that has not stopped her from repeatedly scooping hauls of medals from various swimming events in previous years, as previously reported by the mail.

Megan, her family and friends have been devising ways to raise money, including cake sales, and Mr Dickson and five friends will cycle 150 miles over three days, from Whitehaven to Sunderland, to raise money to help pay for Megan’s August trip, which costs £4,000.

Mr Dickson, who lives in Hartlepool, described Megan as an “inspiration” and said she works really hard.

He said: “There have been cake sales and raffles in school and Megan has been really pro-active.

“She’s a great example to us all – she really works hard.

“So when those miles get difficult, I will use Megan as an inspiration.”

Megan, who lives with parents Sarah and Kevin, and sisters Emily, 10, and Isobel, eight, in the Oakerside area of Peterlee, swept the board with nine gold medals in the National Junior and Youth Swimming Championships.

She also took part in the British International Disability Swimming Championships alongside Ellie Simmonds and won a silver in the 50m butterfly against people from all over the world.

This weekend she will be competing in several sports at the National Dwarf Games in Birmingham.

Proud dad Kevin said: “It’s fantastic what Paul and the school are doing. We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed.”

To sponsor Mr Dickson call the school on (0191) 5862291 or email p.dickson@st-bedes.durham.sch.uk