June 21, 2008

A Wheelchair-Bound Archery Star Hits the Mark

By caroline fisher

Wheelchair user sportswoman Lynne Burton left her hospital sick bed to fulfil her Olympic dream.

Despite being seriously ill, the 33-year-old talented archer managed to get to a crucial selection shoot.

Though still too weak to propel her wheelchair, she was determined to aim high.

And after shooting eight dozen arrows and impressing selectors with her accuracy she was chosen for the British Paralympic archery team - before being driven straight back to London's Royal Free Hospital.

Lynne, from Moreton-in-Marsh, now faces a race to recover in time to compete in Beijing at the end of August.

But her parents, Ralph and Jen, who live at Fosseway Avenue, have no doubt her 'backbone of steel' will see her through.

Lynne said: "I didn't think I stood an earthly chance - but I knew if I didn't go to the selection I wouldn't have a chance at all for the Paralympics."

Lynne was involved in a car crash on January 3, 2000, coming home from a family holiday in Devon, where she suffered an aortic aneurysm.

Her body was still recovering from undergoing two liver transplants the year before.

Shortly after her first aneurysm, she suffered a second which damaged her spinal chord and cost her the use of her legs.

But even that wasn't about to stop her. She went back to work as one of the few wheelchair using physiotherapists caring for children with multiple disabilities.

She took up archery, which she felt gave her an opportunity to compete on level terms with able-bodied athletes, and shone.

Lynne, who went to St David's School, Moreton, said: "Following my selection, the hospital wants to get me to Beijing as well.

"They'll do whatever they can to get me there, but at the end of the day my health has to come first."

(c) 2008 Gloucestershire Echo, The. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.