Old Stop Richard to join third year Claudia in carrying Olympic torch

Richard Howarth with Mrs Debbie Flint

Old Stopfordian Richard Howarth (OS 2010) will carry the Olympic torch through Westhoughton, Bolton, next week after being nominated for the honour by current Stockport Grammar Junior School teacher Mrs Debbie Flint.

Richard, who is blind, was an inspiration to pupils and staff at Stockport Grammar, taking part in residential trips, completing his bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s award, gaining exam grades in singing and the flute, and performing in productions of the Wizard of Oz (pictured below right), Fiddler on the Roof and Les Misérables.

Richard Howarth in the Wizard of OzMrs Flint was Richard’s support teacher while he was at the school, and her original nomination explains why she thinks Richard deserves this honour:

For the last five years as a senior pupil, Richard ran the 1500 metres with a sighted guide at sports day, representing his house. Again an inspiration to all, it was wonderful to hear his fellow pupils – both peers and others – cheer him up the home straight, and to watch him wave to them in response.

This run will take place without him this year and when I heard the launch of the flame relay I could think of no more worthy young man.

Since leaving Stockport Grammar with seven GCSEs, including five at A* and A grade, Richard (pictured above on results day) has been studying towards qualifications in ICT and sound recording and editing at the Royal National College for the Blind and is currently interning at the RNIB’s Insight Radio in London.

In what have been a busy few months for Richard, he has also travelled to Florida to complete a course in using text-to-speech computer software Jaws, has released a single on iTunes under the name Xprki, plans to release an unofficial Paralympic single in July, has joined the Saddleworth male voice choir and will sing in a 50th anniversary Songs of Praise concert to be broadcast on 10th June.

A degree in Law is Richard’s next ambition, and he has accepted a conditional offer from Coventry College University for a one-year foundation course in the subject.

Richard’s leg of the torch relay will come at 5.49pm on Thursday 31st May when he runs 200 metres on Market Street in Westhoughton (near to the Lloyds TSB bank), and he hopes that friends from school will come along to cheer him on.

Current Stockport Grammar third year pupil Claudia Thomas will also have the honour of carrying the torch during the Stockport leg of the relay on Sunday 24th June as a reward for spending the last eight years raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Claudia started fundraising when she was a pupil in the Junior School and donates all her birthday money to charity as well as fundraising for animal rights and homeless charities, including volunteering at the Wellspring homeless shelter in Stockport.

She recently took part in an Olympic assembly in the Junior School, telling the children all about her role.

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