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Parents are given torch memories
PARENTS of severely disabled children have been given cherished memories of their sons and daughters holding the Olympic torch thanks to a charity’s determination to ensure no one is left out.
The Weardale Whippets organised their own relay through the dale, the highlight of which was seeing severely disabled children get a chance to pose for pictures with a real Olympic torch.
The Whippets are a group who do deeds for charity and in the past have completed numerous runs to raise funds for local causes.
Their torch relay, which went from Killhope to Wolsingham and passed through Lanehead, Wearhead, Ireshopeburn, St John’s Chapel, Rookhope, Eastgate, Brotherlee, Westgate, Stanhope, Frosterley and Wolsingham, also raised money for Tabitha’s Toys.
The Frosterley-based charity provides sensory toys and equipment to severely disabled children, some of whom were invited to have their pictures with the torch, which had been loaned to the Whippets by Jordan Parker, from Weardale, who carried it on the official relay.
Jacqueline Lees-Moore, founder of Tabitha’s Toys, said parents of severely disabled children need to create as many memorable moments with their children as possible, as they often do not have long together.
She said: “The official torch relay was great and a lot of people saw the flame, but there were even more who are forgotten about who did not get to see it.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing and to see their children get to be a part of it means so much to the parents of disabled children, because it is something they will have with them forever.”
She and her husband Geoff founded the charity in memory of their daughter Tabitha, who died in 2009.
Tabitha was born with the rare condition Edward’s Syndrome, which left her unable to walk or talk, but she surpassed doctors’ expectations and lived to the age of three.
The Weardale Whippets also raised £300 for the charity by visiting pubs in Weardale during the run.
Whippet Barbara Thompson said: “We wanted to organise a run to mark the jubilee and it grew from there once Jordan loaned us his torch. We were disappointed the flame itself never came to Weardale but at least we have done our bit.”
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