Maybole athlete’s Paralympic dreams could lie in ruin

Kayleigh Haggo
Kayleigh Haggo

Over 8000 people have now signed a petition supporting a teenage Maybole athlete who has been told she no longer qualifies for disability payments.

Kayleigh Haggo,aged 16 from Maybole, suffers from Cerebral Palsy and is largely wheelchair bound but changes from the Department of Work and Pensions to Personal Independence Payments (PIP) means Kayleigh is set to lose her mobility car in a couple of weeks.

The decision means that Kayleigh’s dreams of going to university full time and competing in the 2020 Paralympic Games potentially lie in ruin.

Kayleigh relies on the mobility car in order to compete at the highest level but rule changes say if a person can now walk more than 20 metres unaided, they don’t qualify for the transport.

Due to pushing herself to further her athletics career, Kayleigh can manage this meaning she’ll now face the impossible task of having to negotiate public transport if she wants to continue her Paralympic dream.

And the decision has angered thousands who have signed the petition in their droves which was only set up on Sunday night by Kayleigh’s Mum, Sandra Ferrol.

Speaking to the Gazette, Kayleigh said: “It’s incredible the amount of people who have signed the petition already.

“When I found out the decision at the beginning of May I was really shocked but I have had great support from family and friends.

“I just feel the changes take away my independence which I’ve always had despite my disability.

“I’ve worked so hard to get into the position where I am today and taking away my mobility car I honestly feel that my efforts have been a big waste of time.

“I’ll be okay for this year but when I want to go and train full time my Mum won’t be able to drive me so without the car it will mean I’ll have to get the bus and train which I am not able to do.”

Kayleigh’s Mum Sandra says she has always pushed her daughter to be the best she can be.

Sandra said: “It’s been a stressful time since the decision but seeing the amount of support we have on the petition is great.

“I want the Government to look again not only for Kayleigh but for everyone affected by these changes and I’d like to go as far as I can to push for change.

“Ever since Kayleigh was a tiny person I’ve pushed her into doing what she wanted to do so that she was independent and now that’s being taken away.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “This decision was made after considering all the evidence provided by Ms Haggo, as part of her application.

“Ms Haggo asked for a reconsideration of the decision by a different member of staff. This was carried out and the original decision was upheld.”

It is understood that Kayleigh can take her fight to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals service to appeal against the decision by the work and pensions department.