Olympic torch visits Surrey's sporting legend from Epsom
A woman who has transformed sports opportunities for disabled people across the county carried the Olympic torch despite not being selected as a torchbearer.
Sue Frett, of Martin’s Avenue in Epsom, founded the Surrey Special Olympics (SSO), the charity Reach Out Youth and Adult Disabilities (ROYAD) and will feature in a BBC documentary this week (July 19) about disabled athletes.
But the 73-year-old was still not picked to carry the beacon - until it arrived on her doorstep with a police officer last Monday, July 9, after people read of her disappointment at not being selected.
Mrs Frett said: "I hoped I would be chosen as a torchbearer but I got to the second round and then failed at the last hurdle.
"Having now held the torch in my hand I am totally satisfied. This is something I will always remember."
She founded ROYAD in 1993 and the SSO in 2008 - an event in which more than 5,000 disabled athletes compete nationally and which already has more than 100 branches across the UK.
She said: "Disabled sport came into my life with my son Jonathan, now 45, who had brain damage from birth. It was important for me to do something for him.
"I founded ROYAD to get disabled girls and boys into sport.
"The members used to say they couldn’t ski and I would say ‘there’s no such word as cannot’ - try it first then tell me you don’t like it’."
After researching the Special Olympics, Mrs Frett decided it was "the way forward for all disabled people in the county".
Mrs Frett said: "One hundred disabled athletes train and compete for medals in 21 sports nationally and on the world stage. We are as big as the Olympics and receive no funding for it.
"Disabled people have the chance to train and compete with like-minded athletes and the motto is ‘if we cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’.
"It is something very special to see their faces light up when they are doing well.
"Kingston actually made the SO a part of its criteria for sport for disabled people."
Mrs Frett and her son will appear in I Love Special Olympics on BBC4 on July 19 at 9.30pm.