South Scotland

Snow crush girl Samantha Kinghorn holds Paralympic goal

Samantha Kinghorn
Image caption Samantha Kinghorn hopes to represent Great Britain in the Paralympics

A schoolgirl who was crushed by snow and ice which fell from the roof at the family farm in Berwickshire has hopes of competing in the Paralympics.

Samantha Kinghorn was 14 when she broke her back in the accident in December 2010 near Gordon in the Borders.

She spent six months at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow before being told she would never walk again.

However, she said she decided life was "too short to mope" and is now an accomplished wheelchair racer.

She said: "I accepted my condition immediately.

"While I was in the Southern General, my physiotherapist recognised that I was quite athletic so she took me to Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire which is the national centre for disability sports and I got to try out everything.

Image caption Ms Kinghorn spent six months in hospital before being told she would never walk again

"I tried wheelchair racing and I knew instantly that is where my future lay and I train six nights a week."

At the wheelchair event at the recent Mini London Marathon Samantha finished second in the Girls Under 17 section behind the current British champion.

She manages to fit in her intensive training schedule while studying for her Highers at Earlston High School and even found time to help her dad Neil with the lambing on the farm in the spring.

Paul Bradford, of landscaping firm Border Aggregates, was so touched by her story he decided to create a show garden at the forthcoming Garden Scotland 2012 which he hopes will raise money for her sporting endeavours.

Ms Kinghorn said: "I am very excited about the garden and I am glad that my brother Christopher will be able to see it.

"He leaves a week later for a tour of Afghanistan."

Engulfed by snow

Mr Bradford added: "To come back from such a devastating injury so quickly is quite remarkable and I really wanted to do something to help her.

"The garden will be called Sam's Paralympic Journey and will feature a wheelchair, part of a running track and Olympic symbols."

The teenager's accident happened at the start of one of the harshest winters in recent times.

She had been clearing a path at Middlethird Farm near Gordon with her father Neil.

She was engulfed by falling snow and ice from a building roof and immediately complained that she could not feel her legs.

Despite several operations she was left paralysed below the waist.

However, she now hopes to represent Great Britain at a future Paralympics.

Her garden tribute will be one of many featured at Gardening Scotland 2012 at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh from 1 to 3 June.

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