Paralympian Hannah Cockroft tells of how Duke of Edinburgh Award helped her to 'push out of comfort zone'

Paralympian Hannah Cockroft has told ITV News of how the Duke of Edinburgh Award has helped her to excel in her career as well as push her outside of her comfort zone when she was a teenager.

"At 14, I was still at a stage where I didn't like using my every day wheelchair, I preferred to walk everywhere but walking is quite a big physical strain so I had to hold onto someone's hand," she said.

The athlete, who has cerebral palsy, stormed to victory in the London 2012 Paralympic Games after winning two gold medals in the 100m T34 and 200m T34.

Hannah Cockroft with one of her two gold medals at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 Credit: PA

In May 2012, she became the first person to set a world record in the Olympic Stadium in the 100m - and has also carried the Olympic Torch through Brighouse in West Yorkshire.

She added that the Duke of Edinburgh expedition "kind of pulled me away from my parents" because they couldn't go with her.

She said: "I had to rely on other people, I had to learn how to ask for help - which is something I didn't really like doing, and through that me and my friends and the people who came to do the expedition we all learnt how to work as a team."

Hannah Cockroft with the Duke of Edinburgh.

Ms Cockroft said being able to ask for help during her Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition has encouraged her to ask for help during her career as an athlete.

"I have to know how I will work with my team around me and I learnt that from my Duke of Edinburgh Award."

"A lot of people now, especially disabled people, they don't want to be put outside of their comfort zone, they don't want push themselves harder than things they think they can physically do.

"And now a lot of parents are scared to allow their parents to do that."

The Paralympian pays tribute to the Duke saying: "He was really interested in everyone's stories and everything that everyone had done.

"I really believed in his award which was heartwarming really but I did get the chance to meet him several times and he always made me smile.

"He always made me feel like he wanted to have a chat with me and wanted to know what I was doing, and what I was doing next and he always wished me luck at the end."