Laleham Gap friends Anna and Olive to take on Pretty Muddy Kids challenge for charity

Best friends Olive (left) and Anna will take on the Pretty Muddy Kids challenge

In July best friends Anna Poore and Olive Lloyd will tackle the Pretty Muddy Kids obstacle course in Maidstone to raise funds for Cancer Research.

The 5k course is a huge task for any youngster but for Anna and Olive sensory issues due to autism and anxiety make it even more challenging.

Anna, 9, and Olive, 8, have been best friends since their first day at Laleham Gap School in Ramsgate.

Anna’s mum Rachael, from Margate, said: “The girls met on their first day in Reception, aged four, and became best friends from that day. They do everything together.”

Olive’s mum Aimee says when she first showed the challenge to her daughter her reaction was “absolutely not!”

Both girls hate getting wet and muddy and are likely to find the crowd quite overwhelming.

But Aimee, from Broadstairs, said: “I explained what it was and why money is being raised and Olive decided she wanted to do it to help someone else.

“For Olive and Anna, getting dirty is quite traumatic but Olive really wanted to raise money for someone else and get her friends involved.

“It is quite hard with the autism but I want Olive to push through things in life.

“The day will be really busy and an overwhelming experience so it is really brave of them.”

Rachael says she is very proud of both girls, adding: “They don’t like crowds and noise or feeling wet and muddy so I think it is amazing that they want to do this.”

The girls are fundraising under the team name Sensory Superstars and have already raised some £700.

Rachael said: “They ring each other and facetime and encourage each other.”

Aimee says a lot of the credit has to go to Laleham Gap teachers who have brought the girls on in leaps and bounds.

She said: “Olive was diagnosed with autism when she was three-and-a-half, she couldn’t talk and we couldn’t go down town without muslins pulled over her head in the pushchair because she could not bear to look at people.”

Aimee was told her little girl would never do social things like dancing but she has proved that prediction wrong and goes to dance group, swimming lessons and is a member of The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts  (PQA).

Aimee said: “Socially she is really starting to smash it. If it wasn’t for Laleham Gap both girls would not be where they are now. Without that school and her teacher Ms Clifford my daughter would not be who she is now. The teachers are amazing and support us every step of the way.”

The Pretty Muddy Kids challenge, for youngsters aged 6 to 12, takes place on July 6 at Mote Park.

To find Olive and Anna’s fundraising page click here