TORCH BID: Judith Cooling from Queens Park carried the Paralympic flame through Harrow
AN INSPIRATIONAL Bournemouth woman took centre stage during the Paralympic torch relay yesterday.
Judith Cooling, 35, from Queen’s Park, was chosen to carry the flame through the streets of Harrow in London after being nominated by the Sainsbury’s store at Castlepoint .
She travelled to the capital with her mum Maureen.
Family friend Tracy Reid. 46, from Petersfield Road, Bournemouth, told the Daily Echo: “Judith wasn’t carrying the torch until 4.45am but they had to get up at 12.30am after staying in Harrow overnight.
“Judith was the leader of her group who lit the torch. I spoke to her mum after the procession and she was so proud.
“Judith is absolutely wonderful. She is representing GB in the Down’s Syndrome Olympics this autumn.
“As well as swimming, she also runs.”
Despite being born with Down’s Syndrome and a hole in her heart, Judith developed into a world class swimmer and also devotes her spare time to improving the lives of children with special needs.
She coaches swimming at her old school Linwood and also runs with the Bournemouth Special Olympic Athletic Club.
After being chosen to carry the Paralympic flame, she told the Daily Echo: “I am so excited and really honoured to be taking part in a momentous occasion for both the UK and
Bournemouth; I can’t wait.”
The torch’s 24-hour relay from Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury ended at the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London before it ignited the start of the Games.
A wheelchair dancer who took part in last night’s opening ceremony is moving from London to set up home in Poole tomorrow.
Despite suffering a fractured pelvis just days earlier, Diana Morgan-Hill was determined that the show should still go on, with the help of a stand-by medi