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.