Torch mum's tears of joy

Published: 25 Mar 2012 12:00

A DEVOTED mum, hospital matron and health campaigner who has fought to improve the lives of Down's Syndrome children will be "running for her boys"

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when she proudly carries the Olympic Torch through Reading.

Brenda Morton wept on Wednesday in anticipation of the joy on the faces of her two young sons when she carries the flame through the town on Wednesday, July 11, in front of thousands of cheering onlookers.

The West Berkshire Down's syndrome Group chairwoman and Royal Berkshire Hospital emergency unit matron, initially wanted to nominate her son Piers, eight, and his adopted four-year-old brother Joshua, who both suffer from the genetic disorder, as torchbearers. But then applied herself at the last minute when she discovered they were too young.

The 49-year-old said: "It means so much to me and I was so emotional when I found out. It's in recognition of my children and I will be running for my boys. They are vulnerable and don't get the same opportunities as other children, but they are part of the community too. They love sport and outdoor activities and to see their mum with the Olympic torch will make them proud."

Brenda, who lives in Shinfield with husband Bill, admitted it was a "huge challenge" bringing up Piers but it inspired the couple to adopt Joshua as a 12-week-old baby and the two boys help support each other.

She said: "It's not easy, you have to fight for everything. Nothing is straightforward and you feel isolated from other mothers and you get segregated from the start."

However, things were made easier when she joined the group in 2003, which offers emotional, educational and social support to youngsters and their families.

She became chairwoman two years ago and her achievements include extending its speech and language therapy courses and supplying information packs to maternity units advising pregnant women and new mothers who are often unaware of the condition.

Last year she raised £3,500 for the charity by running the Green Park Challenge and is poised to open a new social club to enable older Down's Syndrome children to enjoy day trips and visits to the cinema, bowling alleys and coffee shops.

Group members will line the streets to cheer her on plus colleagues from the hospital's Emergency Department and Clinical Decision unit and her route is likely to be between London Road and Northumberland Avenue.

She added: "For me it's about being part of something big for the country and getting our charity recognised - there's still a lot of ignorance about Down's Syndrome. It's going to be a big honour and I will probably cry that day too."

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