Sporting starlet has sights set on fencing future

HELPING HAND: Phil Howlett, managing director of Planit Opticians, in Colne, with sporting starlet Lucy-Belle Williamson (S)
HELPING HAND: Phil Howlett, managing director of Planit Opticians, in Colne, with sporting starlet Lucy-Belle Williamson (S)

The supportive father of an Earby fencing champion has thanked Planit Opticians, in Colne, for helping his

sporting starlet overcome her struggle with her vision.

Lucy-Belle Williamson, who in the past season has competed and won medals in three weapons at the British Youth Championships, now has her sight firmly set on the future after being sponsored by the Albert Road business.

The 10-year-old talent, who is coached at Skipton Fencing Club, had not only been battling her opponents, but she had also been facing her own battle of how to get to grips with fencing while wearing glasses. After breaking numerous pairs, she was assisted by Planit Opticians managing director Phil Howlett, who found the youngster a pair of sport glasses, which can last through a competition without fogging, while fitting comfortable under her protective mask.

And now Mr Howlett and his team are taking their support even further, working with St Michael and All Angels Primary School pupil Lucy-Belle to see if contact lenses could be a way of providing her with a fog-free future.

Lucy’s proud dad Ian said: “The pressures of a full on training and competition schedule are very demanding and watching Lucy-Belle struggle with her vision while fencing is very frustrating.

“We are incredibly grateful to Phil and the team at Planit Opticians for their support and not only does Lucy-Belle have the best opticians but their support means that the money saved pays for another international competition; an experience that is invaluable to her development. Phil has been very patient and while Lucy-Belle was reluctant to try contact lenses, his team have helped her to overcome this and now she is showing confidence with them.”

And Mr Howlett added: “We have been supporting Lucy-Belle for about six months and while her optical needs have been challenging, we have worked with her to ensure that the specialist sports glasses are not only a perfect fit but also handle the very challenging circumstances. Wearing glasses under a mask while exercising at high speed naturally causes problems and contact lenses do not fog up under Lucy-Belle’s mask. We are proud to support Lucy-Belle and watch as she demonstrates that with the correct prescription, glasses or lenses, you can compete on equal grounds with anyone else.”

Lucy-Belle, of Victoria Crescent, Earby, is now focusing on the new season which runs from September through to June and she is currently building a training and competition plan which includes tournaments across the UK as well as Germany, Denmark, Poland and France.