"Carrying the Paralympic torch is a fantastic honour and the fact that I am here and able to do so, is in no small part due to the amazingly precise, delicate, pioneering surgical skills of consultant neurosurgeon Mr John Firth and his NHS team at QMC Nottingham to who I am forever grateful. In June 1985, my very extensive intramedullary spinal cord tumour (from C4 to L5), was successfully removed during an 8 and a half hour operation. Since then, I have enjoyed a positive and relatively pain free life. Best in 1993 with the birth of my son Sam (who will shortly be starting at university). My 31 year career facilitating art and craft work with adults with learning difficulties has hopefully produced positive experiences for day centre users and visitors alike, showing how creativity, like sporting achievements, and medical advances should be celebrated and equally available to everyone."