We all face challenges in life, but it’s how we deal with them which reflects our strength of character. You should never let anything hold you back. I’m proud to share the story of my daughter Tori and all she has accomplished so far.
Tori used to enjoy riding and competing in equestrian sports. Following a devastating riding accident in 2009, she suffered permanent nerve damage to her lower left leg, which turned her life upside down. Tori was registered as disabled and unable to pursue activities which she used to enjoy.
I can only imagine how difficult it must have been – and I was there to support her all the way. But Tori never let anything hold her back. She decided to replace the horse with a Labrador which she later trained as a gun dog with the kind help of Dave Sissons (Onetam Working Gundogs).
When she started University, Tori discovered another passion. She became involved in competitive clay pigeon shooting, pushing on through numerous setbacks, surgery and problems with her leg to compete with a smile.
While studying Biomedical Science at Durham University, she trained at shooting for 4 years and became the first female president of the society. This really ignited her passion for shooting - she arranged and took part in further competitions, determined to better her skills.
Keen to take her skills to the Olympics, Tori joined the GB pathway in January, and later registered to also compete in the para-trap category in Italy and France. Her goal is to inspire other people to give clay shooting a go to understand that achieving success isn't necessarily restricted by having a disability.
After a steady start and finding the right coach – Hamish Patterson – Tori is now focussing all her efforts on competing internationally. The only restriction is the competitions will involve lots of expense for her to get the right equipment and training.
The championships will be tough, but I have every faith in Tori. The actual clays are shot out at 180 miles an hour in 3 different directions from 9 traps, and competitors will be stood about 10/15 metres away from the traps when they shoot.
We’re very grateful for the support people have shown so far for Tori’s cause. In fact, Manuel Ricardo – the best gun stock maker in the world – has provided Tori with a custom-made gun stock free of charge to help Tori with her balance. Thanks to Manuel for the kind gesture.
We’d also like to thank Hamish Patterson, Abbey Ling (another coach of Tori) and the Ling family, and all Tori’s sponsors, including: Clay Company/Laporte, Clay Clo, Plugz, York Guns/RE Ranger, Essex Orthopaedics and Stronger Together Crossfit.
We’d really love for Tori to pursue what she enjoys most and to prove to the world that having a disability does not limit your chances of success. If you’d like to support her, you can donate through her Just Giving page.