‘Inspirational’ Lydia Cross from Braunton has added a new sport to her achievements as she tales up wheelchair racing.

AN inspirational young fund raiser from Braunton has set herself a new challenge as she prepares to take part in the London Mini Marathon this weekend.

Lydia Cross is well known in North Devon and beyond for her charity exploits, despite losing her legs to meningitis when she was two-years-old.

The 11-year-old is usually seen taking part in events using her running blades but she has taken up wheelchair racing in the past few months and the three-mile Mini Marathon for 11-17-year-olds will be only her second wheelchair race.

With support from parents Jodie and Tony, Lydia has raised around £60,000 on behalf of the Help for Heroes charity for wounded service personnel, becoming the only Child Patron for the charity.

Lydia is taking part in London for both H4H and the Wheelpower charity, which has provided funding for her own racing wheelchair. The charity aims to buy 2012 racing chairs so that other children can compete.

She was introduced to wheelchair racing after GB coach Job King approached the family to ask if Lydia was interested in athletics.

“He came down from Coventry to see Lydia on her blades running but as she was waiting to have surgery on her legs to have the bones trimmed again, it was quite painful for her,” explained Jodie.

“He suggested she had a go in a racing wheelchair and she loved it the first time she tried it.”

With the support of North Devon Athletics Club, Lydia has been training through the winter with both blades and racing chair – last weekend she and sister Mollie competed for the first time at an athletics meeting in Plymouth.

Lydia ran 100 metres on her blades in 19.2 seconds, as well as completing the wheelchair 100M and 200M in 25.4 and 50.2 seconds, winning three gold medals in the process. Sister Millie also achieved second in the Vortex throw.

“I am looking forward to Sunday as I think the event is going to be really breathtaking,” said Lydia of her London trip.

“I am also hoping to meet up again with the people I have met through the wheelchair racing.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Lydia can go to www.justgiving/Lydia-Cross.