Scott fulfils his dream down under

RICHARD BATSON Norfolk's first blind bowler to represent England is "living the dream" in Australia this week.A huge groundswell of support from north Norfolk folk has enabled Scott Vallance to fly out to Sydney and join the 12-strong England team taking part in the World Disabled Championships under way in nearby Manley.

RICHARD BATSON

Norfolk's first blind bowler to represent England is "living the dream" in Australia this week.

A huge groundswell of support from north Norfolk folk has enabled Scott Vallance to fly out to Sydney and join the 12-strong England team taking part in the World Disabled Championships under way in nearby Manley.

Scott, 39, of Campingfield Lane, Stalham, is taking part in the pairs and triples contests supported by his sighted helper, Margaret Hannant.

The English squad will be among 14 national teams battling for medals at the four-yearly event, which ends on October 27.

Speaking on the eve of his departure Scott said: "I'm as excited as a 10-year-old kid at Christmas who knows he's getting a Scalextric set but can't have it yet!"

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Scott and Margaret's trip-of-a-lifetime was made possible through a £7,000 Living the Dream fund-raising campaign, launched in January, which has seen schools, groups and individuals donate money to help realise his ambition.

He has been intensively training for the championships, which will see him playing for up to six hours each day in the Australian heat.

Scott who began bowling six-and-a-half years ago, will be teaming up in Australia with two players from Bridgwater, Ian Robertson, and his regular pairs partner, Patrick Lovell, with whom he won the national pairs title at Cheltenham in June.

"I will be playing every game like a final, staying fully focused and channelling my energies into staying positive.

"The pressure is immense but if I can play like I can in this country there is no question that I will do myself, my family and all my supporters proud," said Scott.

"It's been quite humbling and amazing to see how everybody has supported me and I'm really grateful. As well as all the youngsters, I've had people in the street saying 'Here you are mate' and putting a £20 note in my hand. Everyone's been fantastic."

Scott's progress can be followed at www.cpsport.org