1948 Olympic Games medallist inspires the next generation with Redbridge school visit

A teaching assistant at a Gants Hill school treated children to an extra special “show and tell” on Wednesday by bringing in her Olympic medal-winning mother.

Kathryn Gillham, 58, a key stage 1 assistant at Gearies Infant School in Waremead Road, could call on mother Dorothy Parlett, 85, to give pupils a morning to remember.

Dorothy won a silver medal in the 100m at the 1948 London Games under her former name Manley – 64 years before this summer’s crop of athletes attempt to repeat her achievements.

Dorothy, who has two other children, five grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren, brought in her medal, racing number and pictures to bring her story to life.

After speaking separately to three different year 1 classes, she also spoke to teachers in the staff room.


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And pupils were able to enjoy a screening of Dorothy’s medal-winning race, from footage put together by her husband John, himself a competitor in the 1948 Games.

Ms Gillham said: “It was fantastic, she really enjoyed herself.

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“The children came up with questions like ‘how did you feel, were you frightened, what did you wear on your feet and what clothes did you wear?’”

“That opened mum up to talk about things like who trained her and she spoke about switching from high jump to running.”

Teacher Dan Lea said: “The children were in absolute awe of her, they hung on every word.”

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