News story

Deputy Prime Minister invites inspirational nurses and teachers to attend official Paralympics opening

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Four nurses and three teachers have been invited by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to watch the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

The opening ceremony will take place in the Olympic Stadium in London and is sold out after record numbers of sports fans clamoured for tickets.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s guests will also attend an official reception ahead of the Paralympics opening ceremony, hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Lord Mayor of London. It will be attended by approximately 700 people including the Deputy Prime Minister’s guests, Heads of States, international sports ministers, International Paralympic Committee President, Sir Philip Craven, and representatives of disability organisations.

The nurses and teachers are all people the Deputy Prime Minister has met in his work over the last year. They are:

  • Four nurses from Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who the Deputy Prime Minister met when the Olympic flame was carried through the hospital as part of the torch relay:
    o Donna Brailsford, 31, from Sheffield. A senior staff paediatric nurse who works in the Emergency Department/Acute Assessment Unit, treating anything from minor injuries to helping seriously unwell children.
    o Margaret October, 55, from Sheffield. A nurse at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for 26 years. For the last eight years she has been the hospital’s Modern Matron.
    o Samantha Pollard, 40, from Sheffield. A nurse on a ward which specialises in orthopaedics (bones). She has worked at the hospital for 12 years.
    o Charlotte Robinson, 43, from Sheffield. An experienced play specialist who provides therapeutic play for individual children and play distraction techniques to assist the medical team.
  • Nick Soar, 39, from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. The Head teacher of Bishop Challoner Girls School in Tower Hamlets. The Deputy Prime Minister met Nick when the Inspiring the Future scheme - to encourage people to give inspirational careers talks to state school students - was launched at Bishop Challoner school in July 2012.
  • Ian Billyard, 55, from Dorrington, Lincolnshire. The Principal of Leeds College of Building, the only further education college specialising in construction and the built environment in the UK. Ian met the Deputy Prime Minister when he visited the college in November 2011 to launch the government’s Youth Contract.
  • Mike Gledhill, 61, from Leek, Staffordshire. The Headmaster of The Kingsway School in Stockport. The Deputy Prime Minister met Mike in November 2011 when he spoke to Kingsway students as part of the Speakers for School initiative which brings high profile speakers into state schools.

In a previous post as Deputy Head of Westwood College, Mike taught Lee Pearson CBE, one of the UK’s star Paralympians who has won golds in the last three Paralympics in equestrian dressage. He also taught Anna Watkins who recently won gold in the Olympic rowing.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

The wait has been unbearable, but at last it’s time to kick off the next dramatic chapter in a sensational summer of sport with the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

I’m delighted to have such an inspirational group of people as my guests. Each of these nurses and teachers work tirelessly to improve the lives of young people in their communities. It’s fantastic to be able to give something back to them.

This year the Paralympics are coming home and they are set to be the biggest and the best the world has ever seen, with more athletes, more spectators and more of a focus on boosting the legacy for disability sport.