Thursday, 23 November 2017

Paralympian performs opening ceremony

PARALYMPIC sprinter and marathon runner Richard Whitehead opened the spring fair at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham.

PARALYMPIC sprinter and marathon runner Richard Whitehead opened the spring fair at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham.

The athlete and former swimming instructor, who won gold in the 200m finals in London last year, gave a speech to more than 100 pupils and teachers.

He talked about his sporting career, which started when he took part in the New York Marathon in 2004. He has set world records for half and full marathons and is the first leg amputee to finish a marathon in under three hours.

Whitehead, 36, also talked about his latest challenge, Richard Whitehead Runs Britain, in which he will run 40 marathons in 40 days for charity this summer. He is hoping to raise at least £1million for Sarcoma UK, learning disability charity Scope and Cancer Research UK.

Pupils collected money on the door for Whitehead’s adventure and upper-sixth form students Jessica Miller, Lucy Egger and Georgina Thomas interviewed him on video for the school’s website.

Whitehead said: “It’s really important that Olympic and Paralympic athletes are approachable and go out to meet people and tell them about all the benefits of sport. I’ve enjoyed coming here today and being interviewed by the students. They asked some very good questions and didn’t throw in any curve balls.” About 500 people attended the fair, which ran throughout the day at the independent girls’ school in Henley Road.

There were jewellery, beer and wine stalls in the sports hall and an inflatable obstacle course on the playing fields, while pupils played tennis and lacrosse matches.

The school also held a cooking competition inspired by television’s Ready, Steady, Cook, in which headmistress Julia Harrington defeated Shiplake College’s headmaster Gregg Davies.

The fair raised more than £5,000 for African children’s education charity TutuDesks, the Thames Valley Adventure Playground for disabled children in Maidenhead and Richard Whitehead Runs Britain.

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