Paralympic medallist at start of torch relay

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A Winslow woman was one of the first four people to carry the Paralympic torch at the start of its relay to the Olympic stadium on Tuesday night.

Sally Haynes took part in the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 and went on to compete at a further three games.

At the Tel Aviv games, she won gold in the epee discipline of wheelchair fencing, in both the individual and the team events. She also won gold in the 1972 games, this time with the table tennis team.

She retired from competition after the 1972 games and in 1988 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her charitable work.

Ms Haynes was one of the first team of torchbearers to depart from Stoke Mandeville Stadium, all of whom were Paralympians and chosen by the International Paralympic Committee.

She told the Advertiser: “It was a great honour. I was very proud to do it. The atmosphere was very good indeed.

“As soon as the Paralympc flame was made up, it was our job to take it on the first leg of its journey to London.

“I took it the full circuit of the Stoke Mandeville Stadium and out on to the road leading to Aylesbury.”

Ms Haynes is known locally as a founding member of the annual Bicester and Finmere Show, which has raised almost £600,000 for spinal injury charities since it began in 1960.

The show started when a group of local businessmen and well-wishers held a horse riding show to raise money for the rehabilitation of young horsewoman Sally Haynes, then aged 17, who was paralysed after a point-to-point fall.

> A visit from former Paralympic basketball player Sinclair Thomas was inspirational for 50 gifted and talented students from Buckingham’s Royal Latin School, Grenville Combined School, Bourton Meadow School and Buckingham Primary School at a two-day summer school centred around the seven Olympic values.

Royal Latin teacher Liz Furber said: “The students were truly inspired by Sinclair Thomas and I know that they now will be watching the Paralympic Games avidly.”