I carried the Olympic torch through Southend...and went straight to Basildon Hospital to show my pal (From Echo)
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I carried the Olympic torch through Southend...and went straight to Basildon Hospital to show my pal
AFTER carrying the Olympic torch through Southend, there was only one place Sandra Watts wanted to be – at the bedside of her friend, Beverly Browning.
Sandra finished her leg of the historic relay in front of thousands of cheering spectators and then drove to Basildon Hospital to share the memories of her special day with Bev, who is being treated for motor neurone disease Not only did Sandra brighten 54-year-old Bev’s day, she raised the spirits of other patients and nursing staff who clamoured to touch the torch.
She turned to the charity for conselling eight years ago after enduring abuse as a youngster. Since then, she has raised thousands of pounds for the centre.
Sandra, who runs her own embroidery business, has been friends with Beverly, of Luncies Road, Vange, for several years after they met at a sewing club in Basildon.
Sandra said “Bev really wanted to see the torch. She may be ill, but she’s still interested in everything everyone is doing.
“I knew how much it would cheer her up for me to visit. But when I got to the hospital, it took me half an hour before I got to Bev’s ward as so many patients asked if I could visit them quickly to talk about the relay.
“All the nurses and doctors had their cameras out.”
Sandra said being part of the relay was one of the best days of her life.
Her family, including husband, Sean, and dad, Brian, were there to see the proud moment.
Sandra said: “Dad is 70 and in a wheelchair and was swamped by the crowds. As soon as my torch was lit, I was told to start running. But I said to the organisers ‘no, I have to find my dad’.
“I waded through the crowds and so I could give him a kiss and he could see me. It was very emotional. He was crying.”
Sandra plans to take the torch into Abbeyfield nursing home, in Timberlog Lane, Vange, where her dad lives.
She also has appointments to visit schools and playgrounds to show off the torch, which cost her £199 to buy as a memento.
She said: “If you don’t share experiences like this with others, then they are wasted.”