We are fortunate to live in an area that has many great people doing great things – whether tirelessly fund-raising to help a local school, organising some of the huge events that take place in the town on a regular basis for the enjoyment of the community and beyond, or the many people that volunteer their time to help others in need of assistance and inspiration or simply have an unusual story to tell.
The first stop on my quest to meet up with some of these amazing people from our community has led me to Self Unlimited, in between the industrial estates on Hever Road. Self Unlimited is a charity who support people with learning disabilities to live the lives that they want through a network of services.
It seems like a long time ago now that the whole country was buzzing from the atmosphere created by the fantastic Olympic and Paralympic Games over the summer and two lucky residents from Self Unlimited, Dimitri and Olivia, were fortunate to be selected to be Paralympic stewards at the games held during August-September 2012.
Representing Sevenoaks, Dimitri and Olivia were selected after Self Unlimited made an application to become a steward on their behalf. It was as early as May 2012 when the lucky pair discovered they had been selected and Dimitri was delighted when he found out.
Their duties were to keep an eye on the crowds outside Sevenoaks Train Station, and directing people when necessary to help them on their way to Brands Hatch where much of the Paralympic action was taking place.. Although not a sports fan himself, Dimitri enjoyed his time as a steward immensely. ‘The area was very crowded and full of many very excited people’, he told me, ‘Everyone was really friendly though and it made the whole experience amazing.’
His most memorable moment stewarding came when he got to see the Olympic Torch and although he didn’t get to hold it, seeing it in person was more than enough. His family and friends were extremely proud to hear of his adventures as a Paralympic steward and he was also proud of himself too for his achievement.
Hopefully for Dimitri it won’t stop there. He’s now very keen to help out at other major events. Perhaps they will need some experienced stewards at the next Games in Rio in 2016.
Dimitri has lived in Edenbridge for 12 years and is a familiar face in the High Street, always going about his business with a smile. He does also travel a fair amount to represent Self Unlimited all over the country and when I met up with him he was preparing for a trip up North.
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