Visually impaired art makers in Knaresborough were delighted to get a hands-on experience when Olympic torchbearer Sue Couture made a special return visit to Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre.
The art makers were out in force to support the Olympic torch in June, but were disappointed that they were unable to properly engage with the torch relay as it passed the Arts & Crafts Centre.
Workshop manager, Julie Valentine, explained why the experience was so important for the art makers:
Most of our art makers are visually impaired so, although they could hear and feel the atmosphere when the torch went past the centre, they could not see it.
When Sue agreed to return specially with the torch, I was so pleased to think we could make a difference to the art makers’ Olympic torch experience. Just like our Olympic athletes, they aim to do their best every day of their lives.
Sue described the torch in great detail, before passing it around the room; explaining that it was the first triangular Olympic torch ever made and noting the 8000 tangible holes in it, which represented the 8000 miles the torch travelled through the UK, held by 8000 runners.
I hope bringing the torch to Henshaws has helped the art makers to feel nearer to the Olympics.
Art maker Nat, who has a severe sight impairment, enjoyed being able to experience the different textures of the torch. He said: “It felt great. It was a fantastic day – I’m a very British guy so I like anything to do with the Olympics!”
Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre is open Monday – Friday 9 am – 4pm and art makers offer free guided tours. For more information please call 01423 541888 or visit www.henshawsacc.org.uk