Jess is on target for Tour de Vale

Dacorum Sports Awards, Rising Star Jessica Stretton
Dacorum Sports Awards, Rising Star Jessica Stretton
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Hemel’s own Paralympic prospect Jessica Stretton will officially start the Mix96 Tour de Vale bike ride later this month.

The 16-year-old, who is one of Great Britain’s finest archery talents, will start the ride for 2,000 cyclists with many passing Berkhamsted, Aldbury and Tring on the 100k route.

Jessica, known to family and friends as Jess, set an archery world record for the points she achieved at an international competition in January and has been widely tipped as a fine medal prospect at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

At the Tour de Vale – which starts and ends in Stoke Mandeville, birthplace of the Paralympics – the Longdean School student will be supporting the biggest fundraising event of the year for WheelPower, the charity she recognises for introducing her to archery.

The teenager said: “WheelPower was my starting point. It was the start or my journey in sport and so I am delighted to be able to start something WheelPower has organised and hopefully help others in their own sporting journeys.”

She will be joined by Caz Walton, one of Great Britain’s most successful ever Paralympians who won 10 gold medals over her career.

Serving on WheelPower’s sports management committee, Caz currently helps shape the life transforming wheelchair sport opportunities offered by the charity to disabled people.

Caz will present Tour de Vale medals at the finish line at Stoke Mandeville Stadium to each cyclist, congratulating them on their 25k, 60k, or 100k achievement.

Jo Hall, WheelPower’s Tour de Vale director, said: “Our bike ride is all about raising money for WheelPower so we can help young disabled people like Jessica when she first took part in our junior sport programme and found a talent for archery.”

The Tour de Vale takes place on Sunday, June 26.

Places are available until June 22, costing £15 for adults and free for under 16s at www.tourdevale.com