Derbyshire’s own Katie Toft, the 25 year old para-cycling champion is a young lady who doesn’t let things get in her way! Born with Cerebral Palsy which affects her balance, co-ordination, speech and all four limbs, it must have been a surprise to those who know her when 6 years ago she took up competitive cycling, especially since she had been told she would never ride at a competitive level. Undeterred, in February 2018 she was selected to compete on the British team for the World Para-cycling championships where she won gold!
She has also won 4 British titles and holds 6 British records.
Katie knows how to set goals and achieve them – her next one is to compete in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo but she is in need of financial help to get there. Working part time at a before and after school club is as much as her disability allows her to do, and since she receives no funding from UK Sport or Sport Aid she depends on donations to help with travel, accommodation and training costs – but the money is running out.When Michael Hitchcock from Derbyshire Freemasons heard about Katie he decided to request funding from the organisation to help her. On Wednesday 21st November, Steven Varley ( Provincial Grand Master for Derbyshire Freemasons ) assisted by other members made a pledge to Katie for £120 per month for the next year which they hope will help her to achieve her ambitions. Katie told them:
“Cycling is important to me because it gives me the freedom to participate in a sport that doesn’t restrict me because of my disability – Freemasonry helped support me to get on the Velodrome at Derby where we can do specific instructive training on the track”