Sporting teenager refuses to be beaten by disabilities

6th August 2004 at 01:00
A 17-year-old pupil who was born with a club foot, is short-sighted and communicates using sign language was invited to 10 Downing Street to celebrate her sporting achievement.

Perrie Hillis, who attends Trinity school in Dagenham, east London, is a keen shot-putter and 100m runner and has represented her borough in the London youth games.

She is the only person in the country to suffer from Penta-X-Syndrome, a condition which makes it difficult for her to speak and also impairs her hearing.

Perrie, who has had four operation to correct her foot, was last year's London sports forum young person of the year with special needs.

Carol Hillis, her mother, said: "When the school told me Perrie had been invited to Number 10 I burst into tears. Perrie couldn't quite comprehend the importance of the day, but she was over the moon when she met ex-footballer Trevor Brooking as she is a big West Ham fan."

She also met Sven Goran-Eriksson, talked to Cherie Blair and had a go on the trampoline in the garden at Number 11. Perrie's other sporting interests include swimming, dancing and basketball.

Maggie Northedge, PE teacher, said: "Perrie is an inspiration to many students."

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