independent

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Chance email leads to memorable encounter

ANNE CAMPBELL

Published 21/11/2012 | 09:15

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A CHANCE email to Katie Taylor's dad Pete from Colaiste Ris teacher Paula Lavin, started the ball rolling on Amy Broadhurst's special European victory celebrations at her school that culminated in the Olympic champ arriving to surprise the 15-yearold.

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Ms. Lavin and principal Padraig Hamill managed to keep the amazing surprise secret until the very last moment. It was a wonderfully staged event in the Colaiste Ris gym. Amy and her family had agreed to come to what was billed as the school's acknowledgement and recognition of her achievements. Little did they realise what a wonderful surprise was in store.

Ms. Lavin took the microphone and proceeded to read out the email she had sent to Pete Taylor a couple of days after Amy's European win on November 9. She told him about Amy, her special bond with her dad who is also her coach, and how the Dundalk teenager is the second Irish woman ever, after Ms. Taylor, to win a European boxing medal.

Ms. Lavin asked Pete if Katie could send a few words of a citation that could be read out at the school celebration. And as the teacher went to read out the 'citation', Katie Taylor came through the gym doors, accompanied by her dad, to the sound of Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' and carrying an enormous congratulations cake with Amy's picture on it.

Amy almost staggered backwards, such was the shock, which was quickly followed by delight. It took the teenager a couple of seconds to believe that her idol was in front of her, hugging her, posing for pictures with her. The students could hardly take it in either but when they did, the cheering was deafening.

Katie said she didn't hesitate in suggesting that she come to Dundalk to personally congratulate the teenager. She told The Argus: 'I wanted to come because I thought Amy's achievement was unbelieveable. She has a truly big future ahead of her and she is an amazing boxer'.

She joked that she didn't fancy getting in the ring with the young Dundalk woman. She told Amy: ' Congratulations, I'm absolutely delighted for you and it's great to be here'.

Katie was presented with a bronze statue of Cuchullainn – the original North Louth fighter – as well as a Colaiste Ris hoodie. Principal Padraig Hamill also gave Amy a school hoodie, asking her to promise to wear it when she's on the Irish Olympic team for Rio 2016. She will – only four more years to wait.

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