Thursday, 19 July 2012

Robbie Heward from St Teresa’s Southwick Carries Olympic Torch

A very excited Robbie Heward with mum, Tania about to carry Olympic flame
On Monday 16th July at 6pm Robbie Heward, who is twelve years old and a parishioner of St Teresa’s in Southwick, near Brighton, carried the Olympic Torch from the South East corner of Hove Park and then headed East along the Old Shoreham Road towards Wilbury Gardens. He was part of the Torch relay that passed from Hove through to Brighton as it heads towards London and the forthcoming opening ceremony of the Olympic Games this year.

Robbie was chosen to carry the Torch because in the words of his school teacher Janine Lewis at Hillside Special School in Portslade, “Robbie Heward is an inspiration young man who has the most engaging personality and wonderful smile. Robbie has severe learning and physical difficulties that he works hard to overcome on a daily basis. He takes part in a daily physiotherapy programme and regular PE sessions. He shows real determination to co ordinate his body to run, grasp, kick and generally take part… Hillside School is very proud to nominate Robbie as a wonderful student who would make the finest torch bearer”

His family were all very pleased and excited about this honour His Mum, Tania was beside him as he ran with the torch keeping an eye on him so that all passed off well. She said “it was great to be with Robbie at this special moment and I was proud of what he did.”

Many of his fellow parishioners from St Teresa’s were there to cheer him on his way including his parish priest Fr Alistair Simmons. Robbie received his first Holy Communion this year in the parish supported by his family, Fr Alistair, Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Special Needs Adviser, John McManus and the parish Holy Communion Catechists. His Dad Paul said that “Robbie is made to feel most welcome and is accepted as a valued member of the parish. Although Robbie has limited communication skills we know from his mood that he was very happy and excited on the day of his First Holy Communion.”

Robbie has a very complex condition including lack of speech, spinal and nervous problems as well as epilepsy and autism. But despite all this, as his family and parish testify, and as his teacher Janine Lewis said on his nomination form: “Although Robbie has limited communication, he exudes warmth and friendship.” Today on the streets of Hove as the cheering crowds watched the passing of the Olympic Torch they saw that same warmth and also incredible excitement on his face.

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