Assault course bid for sister in Special Olympics

Claire Anderson takes a break from training. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Claire Anderson takes a break from training. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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Claire Anderson will lace-up her trainers for a gruelling 10km assault course to raise money to send her sibling Michelle Moran to compete in the World Special Olympics next year in America.

Michelle, who has a range of learning difficulties, will be the only Scots swimmer representing Team GB at the competition in Los Angeles, which is supported by President Barack Obama.

Michelle Moran hopes to compete in next year's World Special Olympics. Picture: contributed

Michelle Moran hopes to compete in next year's World Special Olympics. Picture: contributed

But the sisters need to raise £2500 to cover Michelle’s costs for the competition, in which 7000 athletes representing 170 countries will compete across a range of sports. Claire, from Bilston, said: “I think it would mean so much to her. She was overjoyed to be selected and to be taken to compete would be huge. She is just so excited and can’t believe it is happening.”

Growing up in the tiny Borders town of Duns, the sisters started visiting the local swimming pool to entertain themselves, which sparked 25-year-old Michelle’s lifelong love of swimming.

She has competed at regional and national levels and won a gold medal at last year’s Special Olympics UK Games in Bath in the 50-metre freestyle.

Claire said: “In the pool she just shoots off like a rocket – that’s where she excels. It’s amazing to watch, really. She started competing about six years ago and has been becoming more and more confident. It’s been incredible for her.

“Part of her therapy is getting her out into the community so she joined a swimming group and has just gone from strength to strength.”

Claire became her sister’s sole carer after their mum Linda died of breast cancer in 2011 – dad Michael had died of lung cancer when Claire was nine and Michelle was eight.

Now living with her one-year-old son Michael and husband Dave, Claire sees her sister almost every day as Michelle is able to live alone in a flat in Loanhead.

Claire said: “I was only 22 so it was a lot to take on, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“She is the lightest person and she always has a smile on her face, which keeps me positive. We have been through a lot, but we are so happy together.”

It will be Michelle’s turn to cheer her sister on as Claire takes part in the gruelling Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest Assault course in the Capital in a fortnight.

She said: “I thought if I am going to do something for Michelle then it had better be something crazy. I wanted to do something active, rather than shaking a collection tin.” To make a donation visit www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/michellemoran