Local mum carries flame for children in Selkirk

Published: 12 Jun 2012 09:300 comments

A LOCAL charity worker is doing it for the kids after being chosen to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay.

Pauline Charles.

Pauline Charles, from Tweedbank, launched a support group for families of severely disabled children after her son Dre, 10, was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called methalymalonic aciduria or MMA, that causes his body to produce too much acid.

The 43-year-old set up BANG (Borders Additional Needs Group) in 2006 to provide other struggling families with the support and information they needed.

She fits in her volunteering in her spare time away from her full-time job as a customer care supervisor with care home company Independent Living Services, and has seen BANG go from strength to strength with 44 families using the service already.

Now the former Galashiels Academy student will see her efforts rewarded when she carries the Flame, but insists she doesn't do her job for any personal recognition.

"I'm doing this for all of the children - it's their moment not mine," said Pauline, who was nominated to carry the torch through the Bank of Scotland public nomination campaign. I'll just be representing them when I do it. Hopefully they can come along because they're the most important people in all this and they're all very excited.

"I usually keep my charity work under wraps. I'm quite a humble person and I don't go round telling people what I do. Before I founded BANG I had been living in the dark because there are no medical records for my son's disorder.

"I struggled to cope at the time when he was diagnosed and one of the hardest things was getting the information and support I needed. I decided I wanted to provide that for other people and set up BANG. It grew into a big success very quickly. People need to know that the disability or disease is not the most important thing, it's the struggle the family faces in daily life, in getting the help they need."

With the Olympic Torch Relay already well under way, Pauline admits she has been watching it at home in anticipation of the big occasion on June 14 in Selkirk. And with her older son Matthew, 15, as well as her mother Margaret and sister Debbie all set to cheer her on, she is counting down the days.

"I'm feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement," added Pauline. "I'm always watching the Olympic Torch Relay on the TV whenever I can so I know what to expect. It will be a real moment in history and I'm very honoured to have that privilege. Not everyone can say they did this.

"I've been going out running a few times to practice for it but I'm thinking now that I might just walk it!"

As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Bank of Scotland is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you. Find out what we┬╣re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at bankofscotland.co.uk/carrytheflame

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