FLEETWOOD teenager Maisie McGarvey enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime chance when she joined the torch relay for the Paralympic Games.
Maisie, aged 17, who has cerebral palsey and uses a wheelchair, carried the flame outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Hertfordshire, as the relay procession made its way to London last Tuesday.
The capital’s Paralympics have already been a huge success, with its athletes proving an inspirational to all.
Student Maisie, of Devon Avenue, Fleetwood, is delighted and proud to have taken part in the historic event.
She told the Weekly News: “I felt so many different emotions when I was there – I was scared, I was honoured and I was excited.
“It was just wonderful to be around so many inspirational people.
“I carried the flame for eight minutes but it seemed more like two – it just went really quickly.
“My family were there and my mum was crying – it was an amazing experience.”
The teenager was nominated for the torch relay by the charity Go Kids Go, an organisation which helps wheelchair users to become more confident and independent.
Maisie has been involved with the charity since she was nine years old and thanks to its help, she quickly became able to propel herself along and not be so reliant on other people.
The teenager says she enjoys that independence, and she has since worked with the charity to help and encourage other youngsters with their wheelchair use.
In addition to that, Maisie has been proactive in fund-raising for good causes.
She raised nearly £800 on a sponsored cycle venture – using an arm-propelled cycle instead of a peddle bike – which helped pay for her to be a volunteer at the famous Catholic commune at Lourdes, in France.
Maisie, who is currently studying A-Levels in media and English literature at Blackpool Sixth Form College, hopes to do so more volunteering at Loudres in the near future.
Modest Maisie admitted that when she was first nominated, she wasn’t going to take up the chance to carry the flame, as she did not feel she had achieved enough to merit the opportunity.
But she changed her mind and added: “I’m so glad I did. The Paralympic Games have been brilliant.”
Supporting her have been parents Mick and Sarah McGarvey, sister Jessica, 19, and brothers Grant, 27, and Michael, 30.
Her mum Sarah said: “We’re really proud of Maisie. We all went down to see watch her and we’ve got some footage of her carrying the flame.“We’ve also kept the torch as a lasting memento of the occasion. It will be something that Maisie can always look back on and say she was involved in.”