A talk to secondary school pupils about Down's Syndrome

Stuart Robinson with his granddaughters, Emily (on the left) and Lucy

I wonder if you heard about the former boxer, Michael Watson, doing the London marathon back in April.

It took him nearly a week and he was only able to walk four miles a day. But it was a tremendous achievement because ten years ago Watson suffered such dreadful brain injuries that he could not walk or talk, could not hold his head up, and could not focus his eyes. Until very recently he has been unable to get about much at all without a wheelchair.

But the London Marathon provides plenty of other stories about great achievements. You perhaps would not expect a sixty-year old grandfather to run in it. And imagine how much training he would need. Running fifty miles a week to get into practice for the event.

The grandfather is Stuart Robinson, from Wakefield in Yorkshire. He ran in this year's Marathon to raise funds for the Down's Syndrome Association. Why has he become interested in that particular charity? Because his six-year old granddaughter, Emily, has Down's Syndrome and he has become aware of all the help and support the Association gives.

You have probably met people with Down's Syndrome. You will know what happy and loving people they are. But you will know, too, that they often have special needs. They rarely become as street-wise as other people. Often they can attend an ordinary school but they may need transport, and help from a classroom assistant.

The Down's Syndrome Association works to ensure that they enjoy a good quality of life and that other people are aware of what Down's Syndrome is.

This is Down's Syndrome Week - a chance for us to learn more about what is special about Down's Syndrome.

Anyway, Stuart Robinson completed the 26-mile plus course in 4 hours, 37 minutes and 57 seconds! He came in at number 15,748 out of a field of over thirty-thousand runners. Pretty good going, wouldn't you say? But he was spurred by his devotion to Emily who, he says, is a 'real cracker'.

Footnote: Michael Watson suffered brain damage in his fight against Chris Eubank at White Hart Lane in 1991 for the super-middleweight title.

Find out what Stuart Robinson has to say about Emily"

Return to Down's Syndrome Awareness week index