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Appleton woman carries Paralympic torch in honour of campaigner
10:20am Thursday 30th August 2012 in News
FOR Samantha Jones carrying the Paralympic torch was a moment of high emotion.
The 20-year-old was chosen by the family of Dave Connor, the Warrington Disability Partnership stalwart who died suddenly two months ago, to take his place on the 24-hour relay.
Samantha, of Dale Lane, Appleton , said: “I was honoured. I never thought I would get the chance to carry the torch and to do it in Dave’s memory is such an honour.
“He has helped me so much in my rehabilitation. He was just such an inspiring man.
“It was very emotional to hear I would be doing the relay. To be given the opportunity is amazing.
“I’d like to thank Dave’s family and his mum Cath as well as his friends for this opportunity. I want to make them proud.”
Samantha was encouraged to take up wheelchair basketball by Dave, a Great Britain international in the sport, despite her initial reluctance. Now she is hoping to go on to play for Team GB at future Paralympics.
Samantha was joined by Sam Crossley on the relay, who was one of the youngest torchbearers on the route from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium in London.
The 12-year-old, of Foreland Close, Great Sankey, had his 12th birthday just days before nominations opened for the prestigious honour and was chosen for his work as a champion of wheelchair charity Go Kids Go!
He said: “I am so proud to be part of the relay and it was really nice of Go Kids Go! to nominate me in the first place.
“The work it does is really good and I was happy to take part in the marathon to help raise money for them.”
The Great Sankey High School pupil was born with cerebral palsy, which causes intense stiffness to his legs, but it has not stopped him becoming a keen swimmer and more recently taking up wheelchair sailing – making him a potential future Paralympian in the making.
Sam, who was given a place through Lloyds TSB, carried the torch through Aylesbury on Tuesday evening and Samantha took the flame along Regent Street in London on Wednesday morning.