x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Son shines as Olympic torch bearer to give his dad a perfect day

Frank Kane's son shines as an Olympic torch-bearer across Trafalgar square, the highlight of a perfect day.

I am still buzzing. Last Thursday, in London's Trafalgar Square, I saw my 15-year-old son, Patrick, carry the Olympic torch through the city amid applauding, cheering, enthusiastic crowds numbered in their thousands. In addition, millions were watching live on television around the world.

It stands out as one of THE days of my life. I wrote a couple of weeks ago how Patrick had been chosen to run the Downing Street leg of the torch-bearing procession that heralded the start of the games but things changed due to top-level intervention. David Cameron, the British prime minister, chose a female soldier who had served with honour in Afghanistan rather than Patrick.

The Trafalgar Square leg of the relay was majestic, the highlight of what turned into a perfect day.

I began with a late lunch in Sheekey's fish restaurant in the heart of London's theatreland, one of my favourite eateries in the city.

Fish and chips was a sheer delight on a warm summer's day with family and friends watching the crowds build up for the torch procession. Then it was on to St Martin's-in-the-Field church, by the Square, where Patrick took the torch.

To see my boy, left with only one arm and one leg from the age of nine months old after a horrible disease, lift the blazing torch and start off on his run was just too much.

I admit I burst into tears, out of emotion and tension rather than sadness, feeling totally alone, despite the crowds, until a family friend put his arm around me and lifted me out of the mood. Thereafter, the only emotion I felt was sheer, unbridled pride.

Google it, or check it out on YouTube, or on the websites of the Daily Telegraph or Independent newspapers, both of which carried fantastic pictures the following day.

Coming down the stairs from the National Gallery to the Square (I'd had a dream he slipped and fell there) Patrick looked liked a football hero who had just won the Fifa World Cup, waving the torch with confidence and joy.

Then he set off down Whitehall, to the junction with Great Scotland Yard, where he handed over the torch. His part was done but our celebrations were just beginning. Patrick's mum, Emma, had planned a reception in the Churchill War Rooms, the museum commemorating the achievement of Britain's famous wartime leader. It was the perfect venue. To be celebrating such an emotional event in such momentous surroundings was almost overwhelming.

We wrapped up at about 8.30pm and headed out into the pure crepuscular beauty of a summer's evening in the heart of London, with the city positively glowing with Olympian energy.

"Earth has not anything to show more fair, dull would he be of soul who could pass by a sight so touching in its majesty," I thought in Wordsworthian mood as we approached Westminster Bridge.

Then I found I was humming the Lou Reed song, Perfect Day. I am still buzzing and will be for years.

fkane@thenational.ae

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