MOVING to an exotic location to live a life of adventure is many people’s dream.
But a 12-year-old from Fareham has already taken great strides to move to Thailand where he wants to train in Jiu Jitsu, and honour his ‘inspirational’ step-mum.
Korey Skinner, from Warsash, has completed the equivalent of seven marathons on a bike to raise money in memory of his step-mum, Anne Hayward, who died from breast cancer aged 52 on August 16, 2018.
The Brookfield School pupil competed a 200-mile distance riding a fixed bike in Holly Hill Leisure Centre in Sarisbury Green across September, raising more than £400 for Cancer Research UK.
And now he’s determined to live up to his step-mum’s advice that he ‘can go all the way to the top’ as a professional athlete, which she said to him after he won gold in the 2018 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Junior World Championship in July 2018.
The young martial artist is training to become a professional Jiu Jitsu competitor in Thailand, where the family, including dad John, shared their only holiday together in 2016.
Korey said: ‘My step-mum passing away made me think quite a lot about how I want to spend my life.
‘Most of my mates do not know what they want to do with their life.
‘I want to make my step-mum proud.’
As well as saving more than £2,000 from special occasions and pocket money, Korey became a junior master scuba diver earlier this month, so he can become an instructor alongside his training in the East Asian country.
Dad John, who spends ‘every penny’ on his son’s dream, said staff at Holly Hill Leisure Centre was ‘so impressed’ with Korey’s achievement he now receives free training in their gym.
He said: ‘I can’t afford it being a disabled single parent on benefits.
‘But my life revolves around giving him as many opportunities as I can.’
Ramsay Burns, duty manager of Holly Hill leisure centre, called Korey’s achievements 'superhuman’ for his age.
He said: ‘I’ve worked in health and fitness for six years, and I've never seen anyone like him at any age.
‘He is one of a kind - he is incredible.’
Korey hopes to add to his collection of 27 medals for Brazilian jujitsu at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Dublin on Saturday 23 November.