A DISABLED athlete from Trowbridge is the only woman with a visual impairment to be training to join the Armed Forces ski team, thanks to the support of her guide dog.

Kelly Ganfield, 38, first joined the forces aged 18, but was discharged in 2005 after losing much of her sight when she suffered two strokes.

Since being given guide dog Archie, she has been able to start training again and hopes to join the Armed Forces Ski Team.

Archie now takes Mrs Ganfield to her training at Bath University three times a week and to the gym four times a week.

He has navigated the complex route from her home to the gym and she says without him, she wouldn’t be able to train.

She said: “Archie has given me an entirely new lease of life, I’m no longer reliant on people giving me lifts, I’m independent and that is an amazing feeling.

“I won Gold with Archie.

“The best way to describe my sight loss is that it’s like looking through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars, so I basically have a pin hole of vision in both eyes.”

Mrs Ganfield was in and out of hospital for two years and was eventually diagnosed with Antiphospholipid Syndrome which is a condition of the immune system that causes the blood to clot excessively.

She also suffered brain injury from her stroke which affects her memory, learning capacity, decision making and time keeping.

In 2009 Kelly met her wife Sarah and they went on to have their daughter Bethany in 2015. Kelly had also run the London Marathon in 2015 and soon after this, was diagnosed with Cancer.

However after a while she gathered the psychological and physical strength to do the Plymouth Half Marathon in 2013 and the Dartmoor Vale marathon in 2014 along with numerous 10ks.

Mrs Ganfield watched Libby Clegg at the London 2012 Olympics winning silver with her running guide and was inspired to try it herself.

Libby’s running guide then became Kelly’s guide for the Invictus Games where she won silver. She was the first woman with a visual impairment to achieve this.

She said: “To run alongside a world renowned guide was a dream come true.

“I wanted to show my daughter Bethany that I’m not afraid of anything and that my vision impairment will never hold me back.

“I wanted to show her that it’s not my vision that will determine what I do but my state of mind.”

To find out more, please visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/appeal