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Home   Ashford   News   Article

Ashford teen Andrew Norman, who has cerebral palsy and attends Valence School in Westerham, carried the flame in the Sochi Paralympic torch relay

17 March 2014
by Suz Elvey

Andrew Norman, who has cerebral palsy, travelled to Russia with mum Vikki and staff from ParalympicsGB, after being chosen as one of just four representatives of disability sport in the UK to be torchbearers.

The 19-year-old said: “It was absolutely brilliant, better than I expected. I was a little bit nervous to begin with.

Andrew Norman carries the torch during the Paralympic Games in Sochi

Andrew Norman carries the torch during the Paralympic Games in Sochi

“The streets were absolutely lined with people, adults and schoolchildren who must have been given the day off to watch the torch relay. It was a very exciting experience.

“I must have had the torch for five minutes. It was attached to my wheelchair and it was quite secure. I had about six security staff walking with me so I felt perfectly safe.

“I had time to take in the brilliant atmosphere.

“Everyone was cheering as the torch went past – there were waves of cheers. My mum was running along the side taking video clips and photos.

An Ashford teenager took part in the Sochi Paralympic torch relay

An Ashford teenager took part in the Sochi Paralympic torch relay

“The day after we arrived we had the day to ourselves so we took the opportunity to have a look around and get a feel for the place.

“We watched some curling and sledge hockey. It was very interesting. I did not know sledge hockey could be so violent.”

The youngster, who lives in Kingsnorth and goes to Valence School in Westerham, plays
powerchair football and has played boccia, a ball sport similar to bowls, in regional and national competitions.

He was chosen to carry the torch after taking part in an event organised by Paralympic schools initiative Get Set last year and said he was “speechless” when he found out.

But despite his love of sport Andrew does not dream of becoming a professional athlete.

He is currently revising for a maths exam, which he hopes will, along with other qualifications, allow him to study animal care at Canterbury College.

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