Paralympics pioneer shares Gold Medal Memories with Ellie Simmonds
Jubilee Lodge took on a warm glow of gold when modern legend of the Paralympics surprised one the sports’ pioneers with a video call.
The Paralympics are now a firm favourite in the sporting calendar thanks to the pioneering work of athletes and organisers who took part in the first Paralympics in 1960. 84-year-old David Brindle was one of those athletes and clinched bronze in the swimming pool at the games in Rome to add to his Gold from the British Championships two years earlier
Ellie Simmonds is a household name after winning five golds in the last three Paralympics since making her debut In Beijing at the tender age of 13.
David recently moved into The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) Jubilee Lodge in Bourton-on-the-Water following a stay in hospital after contracting Covid-19. He has been reminiscing about his experiences to offset disappointment that this year’s Paralympics have been postponed.
After colleagues at OSJCT contacted Ellie she was only too happy to have an afternoon talking all things swimming and gold with David.
Ellie said: “It was lovely to be able to talk with David about his time as an athlete and swap notes. They are the kind of memories that live with you forever and what athletes like him achieved put in a great foundation for where the Paralympics and disabled sport is now.
“I think there are a lot of people missing their sport fix at the moment and looking forward to getting out there, whether it is competing or spectating.”
David added: “It was great to talk to a fellow swimmer and we had lots to talk about.”
60 years since the gold medal has not dulled the memory of David’s finest memory in the pool.
“I couldn’t believe it when I was picked,” he said.
“I still remember the day my telegram arrived telling me I would be going to Rome. Most telegrams brought bad news and I remember my stomach clenching with nerves, but I was so excited to be chosen for the team.”
David contracted Polio when he was very young and has lived most of his life without the use of his lower body. Despite such an obvious setback at a time when disabilities where far less understood than now, his condition never been a source of shame for him and he always strived to succeed.
David began swimming in Cheltenham before swimming at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where he won many competitions.
He added: “My disability is frustrating at times but if my legs worked, I would never have swum for England. My parents always pushed me to be independent and do things for myself and they only stepped in when they could see I really needed the help.”
The trip to Rome remains the only time he has been on an airplane and unsurprisingly to the care staff, who know that David won’t eat any food that doesn’t sound familiar and ‘English’, he did not once eat Pizza or Pasta while he was there.
But highlights of the trip included a visit to meet the Pope – an experience which has stayed with him ever since. He has countless photographs in his scrapbook which he is more than happy to show anyone who asks.
He hasn’t swum for many years now, but it remains clear that these are some of his most treasured memories and make him one of our most fascinating residents to sit and have a cup of tea with.
He remains a keen follower of sport and always follows the progress of the Paralympics as well as Manchester City. David was married for many years, sadly his wife died from Covid-19 this year which was when David moved into Jubilee Lodge, initially David came for a short stay to recuperate but he fell in love with the home and the team so he has decided to stay.