Meeting Sir Chris is dream come true for Chippenham girl

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Sir Chris Hoy and Lauren cycle together during her trip to Manchester Velodrome Sir Chris Hoy and Lauren cycle together during her trip to Manchester Velodrome

Cycling-mad Lauren Booth, who almost died of meningitis as a baby, had her dreams come true after taking to the track with Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy at the Manchester Velodrome.

The 11-year-old, who lives with her family in Hayward Close, Chippenham, is already making waves in the cycling world.

She cycles competitively for the Chippenham Wheelers and also races at the Newport Velodrome, recently winning two medals at the Welsh Youth Paracycling Track Championships.

The Abbeyfield student’s walls are plastered with posters of Sir Chris, and mum Lisajayne said it was an unbeatable experience for her to meet her hero.

“It was just amazing – the best day ever,” said Mrs Booth.

Lauren won the chance to cycle with Britain’s most successful Olympian of all time after being entered into a competition run by Sky Ride to prove she is the country’s biggest cycling fan.

Members of the public then voted in their droves for her.

Mrs Booth said: “We found out that Lauren had won the week before, and we had a couple of days to plan it all and get her out of school for the day. It was all so exciting for her.”

When Lauren was just six weeks old, she was struck down with meningitis, and doctors feared she would never walk, talk or have any quality of life.

But while the illness left her with damage to the parts of the brain that deal with memory and speech, hearing loss in one ear and cerebral palsy affecting her left arm and leg, Lauren has proved she is a force to be reckoned with.

Last year, she even met Prime Minister David Cameron, turning on the Christmas lights at Downing Street for a special episode of Blue Peter.

Mrs Booth said Sir Chris was lovely to the family.

“They were riding around the velodrome in Manchester together, just having a bit of a chat,” she said.

“All of a sudden, he said, ‘Come on then, let’s have a sprint’, and off they went, flashing around the velodrome.

“It was just amazing. She was absolutely buzzing, and I think a week on she still is.

“Lauren has posters of Sir Chris on her walls.

“It was a dream come true for her.”

Mrs Booth said Lauren was glued to the television screen during the summer holidays, with both the Olympics and the Paralympics showing the world’s best cyclists.

“She didn’t stop watching it all summer,” she said.

“Sir Chris is her hero, which just makes it all the more special.”

“I don’t know what she’s going to do now.

“How do you top this? She’s met the Prime Minister, and now she’s met her hero. But I’m sure she’ll keep finding new dreams to chase.”

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