by Karen Gilleland © 2014
Horse fancier and caring neighbor Martin Clunes donated a “Doc Martin” walk-on part to help Emily Skerrett reach her dream of competing at the international and Paralympic level
Emily, who lives with her husband and two sons in Stratton, just outside Bude, was born with a connective tissue disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which affects mobility. She recently had a full wrist fusion, resulting in restricted use of her left arm.
Despite difficulties, Emily is determined to follow her dream.
“I have loved horses as long as I can remember and started riding at four years old,” she says. “I stopped riding in my twenties because of pain. But after Reuben [age 2] was born, I got itchy feet to ride again. I contacted the Lakefield Equestrian Centre in Camelford, and as soon as I started para dressage, I was hooked. I now ride competitively.”
Emily won the RDA [Riding for the Disabled Association] national championships this year and is working her way up through para competition.
Emily’s coaches are inspired by her courage and ability. “Emily and her horse, Woody, have the ‘X Factor,’” says Clive Milkins, Fellow of RDA, paralympic coach. “They have the talent, the ability and potential to go to the very top.”
Reaching Emily’s goal requires monetary support. Transport for her horse and competing in qualifiers can cost as much as £500 per event. Jim Connelly-Webster, a friend of the family who lives just down the coast from Port Isaac, learned of Emily’s goals and suggested Crowdfunding, a UK organization that helps small fundraisers reach a wider audience.
“Our goal is to raise £10,000 by November 10, 2014,” says Jim. “As of October 28, we’ve raised £7,447.”
Jim was instrumental in gaining support from Martin Clunes. “’Doc Martin’ is filmed here, and Martin Clunes and his whole team are very supportive of community activities,” says Jim, who occasionally finds himself an extra on the show. “When we asked Martin for his support, he came straight back with the offer of a walk-on part.”
To learn more about Emily and how you can help “get Emily to the paralympics,” please go to: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lets-get-emily-to-the-paralympics/
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