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Tuesday 22 May 2018

Champion Menna given freedom of the borough after Paralympic skiing glory

Menna Fitzpatrick, the visually impaired skier who slalomed her way to four winter Paralympic medals in Korea, will receive a further honour when she makes a guest appearance at Cheshire East Council’s mayor-making ceremony.

Menna, who turned 20 this month, was Britain’s most successful Paralympian in PyeongChang, and stunned the world with her achievements, picking up medals in four disciplines, claiming slalom gold, super combined silver, giant slalom silver and super-G bronze.

Supported by her official ski guide Jennifer Kehoe, Menna’s successes in Korea topped all her other achievements as a visually impaired Alpine skier. In 2016 she and Jennifer became the first British Alpine pair to win an overall vision impaired World Cup and went on to snap up more trophies in world events in Italy and Austria.

On Wednesday (May 23) she will take to the stage at the Tenants Hall in Tatton Park where she is expected to receive the Freedom of the Borough from the borough’s new mayor, Councillor Lesley Smetham, after hearing the official nomination from council leader Rachel Bailey.

Menna, a former student at Fallibroome Academy in Macclesfield, has only three per cent vision, yet can reach speeds of 100km per hour on skis.

Prior to Wednesday’s ceremony, mayor-elect Councillor Smetham, said: “It will be a truly great honour, as one of my very first duties as mayor, to present this remarkable young woman with the Freedom of the Borough of Cheshire East.

“Cheshire East is rich in sporting talent and these great athletes like Menna are rightly recognised by the borough for the hard work they put into their sport, the achievements they have made and the credit they bring to themselves and to this borough.”

Menna’s guide Jennifer Kehoe is not able to be at Wednesday’s event, but members of her family, school staff, friends and members of the Cheshire East sensory inclusion service, who have supported Menna, will be present.

Cheshire East Council leader Rachel Bailey said: “Only two years ago we honoured Sir Philip Craven, a Cheshire East resident and former president of the International Paralympic Committee.

“Menna is the latest in a long line of great athletes associated with Cheshire East, including Dame Sarah Storey, Victoria Pendleton, Beth Tweddle, Ben Ainslie, Laura and Jason Kenny and so many more and, as a council, we are so proud to be able to honour them in this manner.”

Menna receives a scroll of honour from the mayor and will be able to attend some public events as an official guest of the council.   

If you want to see what it is really like for Menna to ski with so little vision then you can watch the video ‘seelikemenna’ by following this link:

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