A Visit From a Paralympian

Last week I attended the opening of a new sports hall at our school. This was billed as a special day in the school's calendar, and we all had high expectations for the event. It didn't disappoint, but perhaps not for all the right reasons



The archaeological find of the century?

We live close to the school and therefore have been able to watch the new sports hall being built. The build was due to take 9 months, but like all good builds - it over-ran.

To be fair to the builder, they couldn't have envisaged finding some broken bits of old crockery which meant having to halt the excavation. It then took a local archaeologist some 11 weeks to sift through every grain of dirt, only to conclude that it was in fact just that - bits of old plate, circa 1990. Most likely IKEA's white "Vardagen" dinner plate range. So not quite the Viking find they expected.

So after 11 weeks delay, and an extra 30k added to the building costs, the builders could crack on, safe in the knowledge that they weren't excavating Sutton Hoo Mark II.

In the presence of a legend

The opening itself happened on a beautiful sunny day and was made all the more special by the presence of one of our greatest Paralympians, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who was there to officially open the hall.

I don't know about you, but I found watching the Paralympics more exciting, and more emotional, than the Olympics. So to have an actual Paralympian there, hot off the plane from Rio where she had been commentating, was amazing for everyone. I was quite tongue tied when it came to standing within 2 feet of her. I wanted to strike up a conversation about how she felt when Sarah Storey stole her record, but the poor lady was constantly surrounded by similar people asking similar questions, when all she probably wanted to do was finish her lunch.


After the official cutting of the ribbon, and a sports demonstration from the children, the school decided to hold a Q&A session with Tanni. All the kids settled down on the floor of the gym and it all started off very well.

With someone as inspirational as Tanni sitting in front of you, the children were all bursting to ask questions. "What was your favourite Olympics?" "Who was your inspiration growing up?" "Were you any good at sport when you were at school?" And so on.

Just as the session was drawing to a close, there were 2 questions left to ask.

The teacher approached the child with the microphone, and he got up and in a loud voice asked "How much money do you have?"  At first there was a sort of stunned silence and then the whole place erupted in laughter, with even Tanni joining in. She very deftly dealt with it by saying "Not sure I can answer that so shall we have another question?" So the next child stood up and asked "How old are you?"

Not quite the end to the day that the school was hoping for, but as my friend said, children don't have filters and if they have something to say, they are going to say it.

I'm just quietly relieved that for once it wasn't my little horror asking those questions.

Amanda Coxen, Working Mum and Tinies Director

Share this:
quotation mark
Thank you Tinies again for your help - you've been so good to deal with. It's wonderful to have helpful people on the end of the phone and I'll definitely put the word out.
Veronica, Edinburgh