A book of Paralympic memories

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A DEDICATED charity shop volunteer has been given a lasting memento of her “fantastic” time as a Paralympic official.

Brenda Buck, 67, made the trip to the capital last year for the home Games after being selected as a judo official.

The mum-of-three has been involved with the sport for the last 30 years and has officiated in the past at the Commonwealth Games, as well as World and European Championships.

But she said they paled into insignificance compared to the “incredible” experience at the Paralympic Games last year.

And now, Brenda, who is a volunteer at the Little Green Charity Shop, in Murray Street, will forever be able to look back at her memories of her time in London after her close friend and fellow Paralympic official, Christine Richards, compiled a book full of all of the photographs she took at the Games.

As Brenda proudly showed off her new book of Paralympic memories, she beamed: “It was a fantastic experience there.

“We lived in the village and it was a different world.

“Absolutely everyone who was there helped to make it special.”

Incredibly Brenda’s route to officiating at the very top level started as a parent helping out at a local session.

Her three sons, Alan, 39, Neil, 37 and Paul, who tragically died in a car accident in 1996, aged 25, all used to take part in judo.

“I used to take the lads to judo and one day the coaches were a bit stuck so they asked me if I could time keep,” explained Brenda.

But little did she know, in 1980, that 30 years later she would have officiated at all of the world’s major judo events.

“I just got more and more into it,” she said.

Her husband, Lawrence, who sadly passed away in 1999 with a long-standing heart condition after undergoing bypass surgery in 1974, would have been extremely proud of Brenda - he himself was an international judo referee.

“I will never forget my time at the Paralympics,” said Brenda, who lived in Trimdon for many years before moving to Chilton following her son’s fatal accident.

“The athletes were out of this world, I remember one day I was walking in the village and struggling a bit because I struggle with emphysema and the next thing I know someone in a wheelchair had pulled up next to me and gave me a lift!

“I met a lot of our medallists and they were all such fantastic people.

“Ellie Simmonds was so lovely.

“They gave us a medal at the end of the Games, I will keep that for the rest of my life.”