Riding a royal wave...
WE go back just 20 years for this week s Days of the Old School Yard when a disabled youngster was riding on the crest of a royal wave. It was back in 1989 when Spina Bifida sufferer John Paul Gray found it was plain sailing when he met Princess Michael o
WE go back just 20 years for this week's Days of the Old School Yard when a disabled youngster was riding on the crest of a royal wave.
It was back in 1989 when Spina Bifida sufferer John Paul Gray found it was plain sailing when he met Princess Michael of Kent for a right royal chat.
She boarded SPARKLE, the first boat of kind designed to accommodate wheelchjairs - at St Katherine's Dock in Wapping.
John Paul, who was 11 back then, from East Ham, had been on a trip to Greenwich before the royal guest arrived.
He said: "It was great fun. I have been on other boats before, but never one where you can use your wheelchair.
"The Princess was very nice. She was very easy to talk to."
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SPARKLE is managed by SPARKS, Sports Aiding Research Intro Crippling Injuries, which raised funds through celebrities sporting activities.
The Princess was then the organisation's royal patron.
John Paul, a pupil at Plaistow's Elizabeth Fry School back then, has also just completed a wheelchair mini-marathon for the Newham Rollers group, raising almost �200.