A WOMAN from Sheepstor has proven that she is not ‘defined by her disability’ by successfully completing the challenging Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Maddy Hopson, a disabled sport diver, has cerebral palsy and was determined to complete the award no matter what.

The award is available to all 14 to 24 year olds throughout the British Isles and equips young people for life regardless of their background, culture or physical ability. On average only 2,500 young people continue and complete the gold award each year out of the 250,000 who begin with bronze award.

Maddy said: ‘It isn’t a competition but a challenge which pushes you to your own personal limits with recognised achievement.

‘I have cerebral palsy and because of the way my disabilities affect me I found certain aspects of the challenges a real struggle but I was determined to complete all three levels.

‘My gold award expedition was completed over four days at the Forest of Dean — this included putting all our own equipment out for camping over three nights and walking in groups during the day. The teams were of mixed abilities and disabilities and it was incredibly challenging.’

Maddy was recently invited the St James’ Palace to collect her award.

‘Prince Edward represented the Duke of Edinburgh and Olympic rower Alex Gregory was the guest who presented us with our awards.

‘My mum accompanied me to the presentation — it was an amazing day and up there with my very special moments in life.’

Maddy added that she was given ‘tremendous support’ by many people to help her achieve the gold award.