‘No limbs? No Limits!’ says Olympic torchbearer Lorraine

Lorraine Mercer has adjustments made to her wheelchair and Olympic outfit''Carer Michelle Evans with Lorraine
Lorraine Mercer has adjustments made to her wheelchair and Olympic outfit''Carer Michelle Evans with Lorraine

MONTHS of anguish are nearly over for Thalidomide survivor Lorraine Mercer as her ‘five minutes of fame’ draw nearer. Lorraine has now received her Olympic Torchbearer’s uniform and a special carrier spigot has been fixed to her ‘chariot’. The torchholder itself was due to arrive yesterday.

She has also been given clearance from the Torch organisers for her carer Michelle Evans to be beside her and she said she was now less anxious about the July 17 relay. The 51-year-old said: “I am excited that it is now going to happen.”

Lorraine, from Haywards Heath, thanked the Middy for publicising her difficulties when she was seeking clarification that the arrangements for her special case would be made in time. She was chosen by Torch Relay sponsor LloydsTSB and her uniform is now being adjusted by her seamstress to accommodate the fact that she has no arms or legs.

She said: “I am really looking forward to the moment my Torch is lit and I am entrusted with the famous historical Flame to represent both my country and LloydsTSB who have made this possible. It is the greatest privilege of my life so far and I am determined to shine like a star.”

Lorraine is especially proud to be the “Unique Representative for the Global Thalidomide Community”. Dr Martin Johnson, of the Thalidomide Trust, said he hoped her appearance in the Torchbearer Relay would “keep a light shining” on the cause of Thalidomide survivors.

Lorraine faces huge personal challenges and pain daily and the Thalidomide Trust is fighting for a permanent settlement from the British government for all victims of the drug.

With a home festooned with trophies from her Riding for the Disabled achievements, she also paints, has a coveted Blue Peter Gold 50 Badge and is part of the pastoral voluntary patient visiting team at the Princess Royal Hospital.

Her motto is “No limbs? NO LIMITS!” and she asked people to “cheer her on” in Beacon Road, Crowborough, on July 17 when she carries the Torch at 1.45pm.