Pride of Altrincham as Kathy is named Paralympic Torchbearer

July 6, 2012 8:19 pm

Kathy Smedley Altrincham Olympic torch bearer

Kathy Smedley, from Altrincham has been named as a Paralympic torchbearer actually carrying the torch into the Olympic Stadium.

Kathy, 63, is a volunteer for the Act4Africa team and will be part of the relay team that carries the flame from Stoke Mandeville into the Olympic stadium on the 29th August 2012.

A lot of torch bearers from around the UK have been chosen to carry the torch around the UK but it is a special honour to be asked to carry the torch on the last 24 hour relay for the opening ceremonies.

The honour bestowed on Altrincham volonteer, Kathy Smedley, is well deserved as she has worked hard over the years onthe Act4Africa Campaign as well as fighting her own personal battles with health.

The Act4Africa team was set up to help reduce the stigma of people in Africa who have to live with HIV and AIDS, they have set up a number of testing facilities around Africa as well as providing counselling services in many rural African villages.

Kathy has never lost focus throughout her dedicated work to the Act4Africa campaign, even when she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy. Even through 3 years battling cancer and then having to undergo surgery for a brain tumour Kathy’s dedication to others in inspiring.

Kathy said:

“I am absolutely delighted that our ‘Inspirational Women’s Team’ has been chosen to represent Act4Africa in the Paralympic Torch Relay. Those who compete at the games are a huge inspiration to us. It really demonstrates the drive, determination and phenomenal talent of athletes who are living proof that, whatever the odds, anything is possible.

“It mirrors the challenges that our local teams who deliver our AIDS Prevention and Stigma Reduction Programmes in Africa fight to overcome every day. Every single one of our staff has lost a family member (or in some cases, many family members) to HIV. Many of them have had to overcome incredible challenges – from the loss of their parents in childhood, to homelessness and stigma because of ignorance about how the disease is spread. It is the ‘cancer’ of Africa and we are determined to play our part in eradicating it.

“AIDS is a silent killer that knows no boundaries: race, age or sexuality. We are determined to step up our work until every child, every parent, and every person in Africa knows the truth about AIDS. We hope that being part of this incredibly important national event will help to put the AIDS pandemic in Africa back on the media’s agenda and encourage people to support our work.”

It is fantastic to see that Kathy’s contribution to others has been recognised both nationally and locally as Trafford Council Executive Councillor Jonathan Coupe said:

“Kathy’s achievements are truly inspirational and I am absolutely delighted that she is being recognised as a Paralympic torchbearer. She encapsulates all that is great about people in Trafford and is the perfect person to represent the borough in this important event.”

Altrincham has a lot of unsung local heroes who’s efforts to charities and local communities often creeps below the radar, but here at Visit Altrincham we want to shout about all the good work Altrincham residents have been up to.

It is great to see Kathy Smedley stand up for Altrincham and the Act4Africa charity for the opening night of the Olympics and we will be cheering her on with the rest of Altrincham!

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