Paralympics ambition for mum Charlie

Charlotte Hughes playing for the Portsmouth Sitting Volleyball Team
Charlotte Hughes playing for the Portsmouth Sitting Volleyball Team

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MUM-of-four Charlotte Hughes has set her sights on Rio – to compete in the Paralympics there in 2016.

The 38-year-old lost both her legs after contracting streptococcal A from a throat infection in 2008. It led to septicaemia.

She now plays for Portsmouth Sitting Volleyball Club and is considering training for the next Paralympics because she had to pass up the opportunity for the 2012 games.

Her close-knit group of friends, who have dubbed themselves Charlie’s Angels, have so far helped to raise more than £13,000 to go towards the cost of new prosthetic legs which will give Charlotte more movement.

On Saturday they are holding a table-top sale at Clanfield Memorial Hall, on March 23, to raise some more money.

Charlotte, from Clanfield, said: ‘I’m doing very well, not too bad.

‘I still have everyday difficulties. It can take a while to get up in the morning and put my legs on. But I’ve been playing volleyball for a few years now and it’s brilliant.

‘I got asked to play for Team GB a couple of years ago but with four young children I couldn’t do it. Maybe next time.

‘I’ve found a sport I’m not too bad at. I thought after losing a pair of legs I would never do sport again. The great thing is, I don’t have any pain while I do it as I sit on my bum.’

Charlotte currently has NHS prosthetic legs but would like a pair like those used by model Heather Mills.

They cost in the region of £16,000 so Charlie’s Angels have a bit of a way to go in their fundraising quest.

She added: ‘My friends are just amazing. They would love me to have a pair that look as real as possible. It’s getting easier but at night-time it’s difficult for me.

‘If I need to get up it takes five to 10 minutes and my husband helps me. I take each day as it comes. I’ve got a different outlook on life than I used to have and things are getting easier.

‘There was a time when I didn’t think they would do.’

The table-top sale is in South Lane, from 10am to midday.

More players, both disabled and able-bodied, men and women, are needed for the sitting volleyball team.

To find out more information go to portsmouthvolleyballclub.co.uk.