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Published on 18/12/16

The Stephen Perse Foundation held a birthday assembly today to celebrate its 132nd birthday, and invited former student PC Claire Young to speak at the event. Claire left the school in 1997, and initially trained as a biochemist working in dermatology, before changing direction and going into the Metropolitan Police Force in 2002.

Claire applied to be part of the Paralympic torch relay security team (TES) and beat 750 applicants to become one of the 36 runners ensuring the safety of the Olympic flame, torches and cauldron, along with briefing the torchbearers. The relay ran for 70 days, covering 8,000 miles from Land’s End to London. They were responsible for 8,000 torch bearers, with 450 people travelling in convoy to support the journey.

Students from across the Foundation heard about inspiring local heroes, celebrities and sporting greats that Claire met on her journey, how she had to stay fit to cope with the gruelling programme – 32 miles of running every day! One of her many highlights was running with Mia, the daughter of PC David Rathbone (the policeman blinded by Raoul Moat who died 3 weeks before the torch relay). Mia chose to carry the torch in her fathers’ name wearing a blindfold, which was hugely inspirational. Another highlight was watching Michael Johnson sprint around Stonehenge as dawn was breaking on the 55th day of the relay.

Claire Young with Mia Rathbone, who carried the torch in memory of her father