HEROES welcomed superhumans as the Paralympic Flame came to Huddersfield.
Thousands cheered as the flame, in a lantern, arrived in a Jackal – an armoured vehicle more commonly used for rapid assault and convoy protection than a jaunt around Huddersfield.
The 4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment led the lantern relay with Pte Chris Herbert, who lost his right leg during a tour of Iraq, carrying the flame.
Cheers went up as the Regiment’s TA members arrived at Leeds Road playing fields yesterday at the end of the Kirklees Youth Games.
Warrant Officer Lynden Robinson and Pte Herbert were joined by Lance Corporal Richard O’Gara, 30, of Shepley, Cpl Damien Eyre, from Oakes, Pte Jeremy Robbins, of Fixby, Pte Craig Holt, of West Vale and Pte Peter Clowes of Holmfirth.
Youngsters Mehael Sullivan, Jack Moody, Adam Zieba, James Connelly, John Mann and Megan Briggs were handed the lantern and the biggest smile came from Daniella Kershaw, who beamed in her wheelchair as she was handed the lantern and given a Yorkshire Regiment beret to wear.
The Paralympic lantern bearers were accompanied on their section of the relay route by Olympic Torchbearers Aimee Jennings, 12, of Almondbury; Brenda Thomson, 74, of Bradford; Paul Wilson, 36, of Wakefield; Donna Siberry, 36, of Sowerby Bridge; Glyn Carter, 44, of Skelmanthorpe; Kevin Blackburn, 45, of Dalton; Rob Morris, 16, of Almondbury; Gayna Goalby, 36, of Dewsbury and Rebecca Kane, 27, of Lockwood.
Aimee, a pupil at Almondbury High School, was chosen because of her sporting activities while for Rob it capped a busy few days – the teenager picked up his GCSEs and secured a place at Greenhead College before taking part.
The Longwood Harriers member said: “I love sport and athletics and being involved in the Olympic relay and now this has been brilliant.”
Joining the relay was Calderdale’s Donna Siberry who was nominated for her charitable work.
The Sowerby Bridge woman has raised funds for St Gemma’s Hospice, Leukaemia Research and Dogs for the Disabled and she said: “It’s been a great experience, unbelievable and I’m glad to be part of it.”
Cheering them on were children from Bridge End House Nursery, based at Fixby and Brighouse.
The excited children had taken part in golf and rugby games before the lantern arrived and the nursery’s owner, Liz Stoker, is looking forward to her daughter Maddison, a pupil at Woodhouse Primary School in Brighouse, being involved in the Paralympic Opening Ceremony on Wednesday.
L/Cpl O’Gara, a former pupil of St John Fisher High School, said: “It’s been a great day. We met the flame as it arrived from Kings Cross and came with it to Huddersfield.
“It’s nice for us to come to Huddersfield which is where we’re all from and to be involved.”
Capping off the relay route and helping to release balloons was former Paralympian and world champion Paul Cartwright.
A former Newsome High School pupil, Paul excelled in a variety of sports including wheelchair sprint and pentathlon.
He represented Great Britain in the 1984 Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville where he reached the final of the 100 metres race, coming fifth.
Recently appointed Ambassador for Hollybank Trust, where he was a former pupil, Paul told the audience: “It doesn’t matter what your background is, everyone is entitled to have a dream.
“If someone told me at school I would be representing my country at the Paralympics I’d have laughed. It just goes to show that with hard work and determination you can reach your goals.”