Elyse becomes RNC’s first England ladies blind cricketer!
Elyse, who is studying Sport and Recreation at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), has been selected for the England ladies blind cricket squad after competing in a series of competitive trials. Elyse said, “I’m really excited, it’s all happened so quickly. News travels fast around the College; I’ve had so many people that I don’t even know coming up to me and congratulating me!”
Having grown up with a passion for sport, Elyse only began her blind cricketing career in April 2013 when she joined the Gloucestershire Growlers. It was whilst playing at a blind cricket tournament hosted by RNC that Elyse realised that she could pursue a career within sport so she moved to Hereford as an adult trainee on the Work Ready programme to study NVQ Level 2 in Sport and Recreation at the College.
Recent hard work and dedication has got Elyse to where she is today: “I go to the gym with Lenny (another RNC trainee) at 7am every morning and my course is pretty tough – it’s really intensive and a mixture of both practical work and work on the computers. This has been a challenge as I’d never used screen readers before coming to RNC. But it’s all good and I’m really enjoying it here.”
Elyse talks about the day she lost her sight and explains, “I have Type 1 diabetes and I guess I didn’t look after myself that well when I left home; I didn’t eat well and I was out partying too much. Losing my eyesight pretty much happened overnight. I was at work one night and my eye started haemorrhaging. It was terrifying because I had no idea what it was.” After a trip to A&E and several hospital appointments later, Elyse explains the frustration she went through: “I couldn’t be registered as visually impaired until I’d had my laser operation, and until I was registered I couldn’t get any help from any blind charities. It was such a frustrating time – I was at home for 11 months doing nothing.”
Elyse found she was able to discuss options for the future with her mobility officer. She had worked as a chef in Bristol for six years and wasn’t sure what else she could do. She expressed her love for sport and cricket, in particular, so was referred to the Gloucestershire Growlers cricket team. Elyse says, “Playing for a unisex cricket team has been great because I’ve had the opportunity to network with so many different people.” She is hoping that playing both county and national cricket, as well as studying at RNC, will be her stepping stone towards a future career as a cricket coach. In the meantime her next challenge is fundraising for the England blind cricket tour to Nepal in July 2014 – good luck Elyse!
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Article written by Bik Lee, Digital Media Officer at RNC