Kirsty is a shining star for her community

AN INSPIRATIONAL schoolgirl who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy has been presented with a prestigious award.

Kirsty Soutar, a fourth year pupil at Lenzie Academy, received the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award at a special ceremony in Bearsden Academy, last Wednesday.

The 16-year-old suffers from mobility problems due to cerebral palsy, which affects both her arms and legs.

Kirsty’s delighted mum, Alice, said: “The award process was very structured and involved a lot of dedication and hard work on Kirsty’s part over six months.

“There was physical and outdoor training as well as outdoor expeditions, including an overnight camping trip.

“Kirsty also had to take part in weekly tutorials and training days and learn new skills. She kept a video diary during the programme, which she has edited into a longer film.”

As part of the award process, Kirsty was required to carry out work in her local community. She chose to help out at the Capability shop, in Kirkintilloch, one morning a week.

Mum Alice said: “Capability is the charity that helps people with cerebral palsy, so she is giving something back by working in the shop.”

Alice praised teachers and staff at Lenzie Academy for supporting her daughter during the award process.

She said: “The school have gone out of their way to ensure Kirsty has had all the support she needed, both in the classroom and outside. The Duke of Edinburgh Award organisers were also a great help.

“There were some very tough goals set, but Kirsty thoroughly enjoyed it and is already working towards her silver award.”

Andy Ion, Lenzie Academy’s Duke of Edinburgh Award leader, said: “Kirsty has shown she is very determined and has a great personality. Her success cannot be underestimated.”

He added: “Everyone involved in the award has to show ability in several key areas, including working as part of a team, but also individual skills such as navigation, cooking and first aid.

“It is tough for anyone, but particularly for Kirsty due to her disabilities. It is a great achievement.”