With the dark nights drawing in and commuting Londoners back to being their usual grumpy selves, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games probably feel like a lifetime ago. So when one of our supporters got in touch with us to tell all about her experiences as a Games Maker at the Paralympics sailing in Weymouth, we knew it would make a great read! Sue Fortescue underwent the Whipples operation in 2010 and shows that there is life after! Without further ado, here's Pancreatic Cancer UK supporter Sue Fortescue to tell us all about it in her own words:
"It was a FANTASTIC experience! I had a great job, based in the lounge where the members of the 'Paralympic Family', for example Heads of the National Paralympic Committees, were welcomed. I also went out with the dignitaries on the hospitality boats (luckily I don't get seasick) and, if necessary, also helped to clean the boats!
I also had the immense privilege of meeting the athletes as they came off the water when racing was finished each day, and interviewing the French & Italian teams about their experiences. This was, for me, the best part of the time I spent in Weymouth, as the athletes are in many cases very severely handicapped and yet have the immense courage to go to sea in very small vessels.
Great Britain had never before won any medals at the Paralympic Sailing, so it was very exciting when we won a Gold and a Bronze - and I was able to attend the medal ceremony, where the people we had been entertaining all week (who had been casually dressed in jeans etc.) suddenly appeared in their best clothes and went on to the podium to give out the medals!
The weather gods were kind to us and we had sun every day, and just one day when there was not enough wind to sail but that was the last day and the rankings had been determined by then.
Wearing the uniform was quite an experience, cars stopped for me in Weymouth to let me cross the road, people stopped me to chat, coach drivers asked where they should take their passengers to get the best view of the racing! I am already having withdrawal symptoms now I am out of uniform and people just pass me by!
It was also wonderful to be part of a very international team; one of my colleagues came all the way from Japan, at his own expense, to assist with Japanese interpreting, another came from Brazil, and hopes to also volunteer in 2016 when the Games are held there. We shook hands with Lord Coe, Prince William, and many other dignitaries - and everyone thanked us!
We were given lots of souvenirs by those we met, and I have a great collection of pins now - but by far the best souvenirs are the wonderful memories!"