Six disciplines for Andrew at World event

Gymnast Andrew McLaughlin and mum Helen with some of the tennis player sat the Tealby Club's charity day EMN-140922-164823001
Gymnast Andrew McLaughlin and mum Helen with some of the tennis player sat the Tealby Club's charity day EMN-140922-164823001

A charity day at Tealby Tennis Club is helping towards the cost of a Middle Rasen 
gymnast’s GB call up to next year’s World Games.

A charity day at Tealby Tennis Club is helping towards the cost of a Middle Rasen gymnast’s GB call up to next year’s World Games.

Andrew McLaughlin from Middle Rasen is one of nine artistic gymnasts selected to represent Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles next year.

But even though Special Olympics is an internationally recognised organisation, and is affiliated to the Olympic movement, it receives no funding, which means Andrew (29) and his family need to raise the money themselves to take part in events.

“It is a big financial commitment,” said Andrew’s mum Helen.

“You wouldn’t want them to miss out, but there are only so many times you can go to your local community and ask the question.”

So Helen was delighted when Tealby Tennis Club’s Ladies chose to support Andrew on their charity day.

“We like to support a local athlete at our annual event,” said Joy Purkiss.

“We saw the piece in the Rasen Mail on Andrew being selected earlier this year and thought that was ideal.

“It is a tremendous achievement and we wish him good luck at the Games.”

The day raised £610 to help with Andrew’s travel and training costs, which have been given a further boost with sponsorship from a business through the Lincoln Gymnastic Club, which Andrew attends.

“We thank everyone for their support,” added Helen.

At the Los Angeles games, which take place from July 26 to August 2 next year, Andrew will be taking part in six disciplines - the vault, floor, high bar, parallel bars, pummel and, Andrew’s particular favourite, the rings.

In the preliminary round Andrew, who has Downs Syndrome and severe learning disabilities, will perform all six pieces and then all competitors are put into groups so they can compete against like ability.

“Intellectual disability has such a vast range,” said Helen.

“Everyone is grouped, so they get a chance to get on and achieve.”

Andrew has an amazing long-term memory which has helped him get on in the world of gymnastics.

Last year, he won a haul of medals at the Special Olympics in Somerset - and it is hoped next year will see him bring home more medals.

And Andrew’s coach Michael Roberts will be with him all the way, as he has been selected as coach for the GB squad.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to Andrew’s training fund can contact Helen by email: helen.mclaughlin@btopenworld.com