Saturday, September 01, 2012

Paralympic Torch Relay - part 2

When the telephone rang about 30 minutes before processing up to the church with my oldest daughter Alice and her bridesmaids, for Alice's marriage to Stuart at the Sacred Heart Church, I assumed that a wedding guest had encountered the Worple Road resurfacing works that were taking place and was seeking advice as to how to avoid those. The caller turned out to be a representative of the Paralympic Games organisers with an invitation to carry the Paralympic flame in London's Canary Wharf, for HCPT on the opening day of the Paralympic games.

Alice's wedding was wonderful as I have commented elsewhere on this blog. We were especially fortunate that the sun shone so that the subsequent walk by bride, groom parents and guests up to the reception at the Cannizaro Hotel on Wimbledon Common was warm and dry and fun.

 Meanwhile the Paralympic representative worked everything out for the torch carrying so that by the Games opening evening, the 5 people in our Torch carrying team met in LOCOG's offices on the top floor of the Barclay's building in London's Canary Wharf. There there was also a great view of the Olympic Park to feast one's eyes on whilst being briefed. The two photos below do not really give the full atmosphere not least because for much of the half mile or so the crowds were almost overwhelming.
As I wrote subsequently to HCPT (slightly edited to protect the innocent!) in whose honour I was involved:

There were 5 of us in the team - the other 4 were all really amazing people with huge stories of their own to tell. One was blind but had raised £1.5m for her charity in Cornwall and was accompanied by a young co. director (himself a v. impressive person) to guide her. Another was a beautiful young married woman with one artificial leg whose husband and supporters (including tiny children) were many and seemed themselves to be in the public eye... A third lady taught or was involved with disabled athletes in some way. The 4th (in a wheel chair) had worked at Stoke Mandeville Hopsital for 25 years+ and amazingly, knew well, former HCPT Group 35 Doctor Brian...(old Beaumont) who also works there though he thinks Dr Brian is about to retire. At one point we were set down somewhere in Canary Wharf with only one escort (and were surrounded by people wanting to give us hugs and be photoed etc. Even on the tube home a complete stranger came over and she said how wonderful it all was. We in the team had not met before but were together for a couple of hours on the top floor of the Barclays Bank building at Canary wharf with a great view of the Olympic Park. We all got on well famously and one took all our email addresses for photos so if any more come I will let you know. The HCPT story went down well you will be pleased to hear - very humbling all round for me but I would not have missed it for the world...

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