Stephanie Millward delighted with Monkton Park pupil's support
Young swimming fan Maddy Elliott has raised more than £1,000 to help get her hero to the Paralympic Games in Brazil.
Maddy, a seven-year-old pupil of Monkton Park Primary School, Chippenham, took it upon herself to help swimming star Stephanie Millward because it “wasn’t fair” she does not have a sponsor.
She said Ms Millward inspired her and made her want to compete in the Olympics herself.
Maddy swam 1,000 metres, or 40 lengths, at the Olympiad leisure centre on December 30.
She said: “I like being in the water. Stephanie is kind to me and she let me hold her medals.”
Ms Millward, who won four silvers and a bronze in the pool at London 2012, said she found Maddy to be an inspiration.
“I’m overwhelmed – it’s such a grown-up thing to do to raise money for somebody else, and so well motivated to have trained herself that much. At just seven years old, that’s absolutely incredible – she’s my role model.”
Ms Millward, a former Corsham School student, swam the last half of the kilometre with Maddy and said she was impressed by her technique.
Maddy started swimming classes at the Olympiad at just six months old.
Her mum Debbie, 41, of Monkton Park, said: “I couldn’t swim until I was an adult so I didn’t want it to be like that for her.”
Mrs Elliott, a teaching assistant at Grittleton School, said: “Maddy followed her in the Paralympics.
“She saw her in a café in Bath and she was scared to go and speak to her but she didn’t want to miss the opportunity and Stephanie spent a lot of time with her.”
The Paralympics are to be held in Rio in September 2016.
Ms Millward, 32, who has multiple sclerosis, will not know until a few months before if she has qualified.
Anyone who would like to contribute to Maddy’s total can call Mrs Elliott on 07776 306968.