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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Paralympics role for Cumbrian mum after death of son

A mum who lost her disabled son to a rare genetic disease has been chosen to volunteer at the upcoming Paralympic Games in his memory.

Ann Marie Dunne works for Sainsbury’s – the official sponsor of the 2012 event – at its Cockermouth store.

Back in 2010, the national supermarket chain launched a search for 100 staff members to travel to London as official Games Maker volunteers.

Ann Marie, of Frizington, decided to put herself forward for very personal reasons.

She said: “When my son, Paul, was alive he was physically disabled. He had muscular dystrophy, which is a muscle-wasting disease. He started off reasonably healthy but eventually became very ill. It’s a horrible condition. He was 25 when he died, nearly four years ago.

“I decided I’d like to do it in his memory and was fortunate enough to be put forward.”

Her application was only the first step. She then had to be interviewed by Locog – the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games – then travel to London to complete various different training courses.

She was then appointed the role of venue protocol team leader at the iconic Olympic Park Aquatics Centre – a very prestigious position.

“I will be based at the Aquatics Centre meeting and greeting dignitaries – including Royalty and heads of state,” said Ann Marie, who moved to Cumbria to be near daughter Claire, who lives in Asby, and granddaughter Charlotte, now two.

“The training has been so professional. It’s just amazing to be involved in something as big as this. I keep seeing the Aquatics Centre on the television and getting excited.

“My colleagues are really excited for me. I moved here from Lanarkshire after my son died. It was a big thing to go back into the workplace but they have been so nice and made me feel so welcome.

“I still feel sad. I miss him every day but this is something positive I can do.”

The Paralympic opening ceremony will be held on Wednesday, August 29, with Ann Marie starting her first shift on the Friday.

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