AFTER a near eight-year struggle with life-threatening illnesses, Glenrothes shooter Lesley Baldwin has been hand-picked as a future British Paralympian, being chosen on the Bank of Scotland Local Heroes initiative.
The 33-year-old, a member of Glenrothes Target Shooting Club, will receive a cash injection of £1,000 towards training and competing and is one of only 82 athletes selected onto the scheme from across Scotland.
Lesley attended the 2012 launch at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Leisure Centre, where she met up with former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards and World Championship bronze medallist Lee McConnell.
For Lesley the selection meant more than most, having endured a nightmare last few years of illness which began with a back injury while serving in the British Army in Germany.
After suffering complications and contracting dystonia she has since had her left leg amputated at the knee and undergone a life-threatening deep brain stimulation operation in 2009.
In recovering from that operation, Lesley was introduced to shooting and has since been fast-tracked into the British Paralympic set-up as she eyes a spot at the Rio Games in 2016.
“2016 is my goal and it is great to be picked to receive the funding after what has been a very hard few years,” said Lesley.
“I am absolutely loving the shooting, having been introduced to it when I was recovering at Headley Court in 2010.
“The funding will be a great help because I spend most of my life on the M6 now, travelling down to training in Stoke Mandeville where I spend about three weeks every month.
“Also, with shooting, the equipment is obviously very expensive and so it will help out there too.”
Bank of Scotland Local Heroes, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 82 of Scotland’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond.
Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes.
Follow future stars at facebook.com/bankofscotlandlocalheroes