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Deaf child inspires teacher to run marathon

Gill Baxter who teaches at a BSL school in Dundee decides to run marathon for NDCS after friend's brother died

Monday 8 May
Deaf child inspires teacher to run marathon

Editor - May 08 at 08:00

Gill Baxter is an experienced teacher and the sort of no-nonsense woman who can take most things in her stride. And yet, a few years ago, if someone had suggested she run a marathon, she would probably have giggled politely and said: “Er, thank you, no.”
But now she’s just run the London Marathon and raised £2,250, way beyond the £1,800 target that had been set — and it was a very personal run indeed. She’s the principal teacher for the deaf at Claypotts Castle Primary, the Dundee school where all the kids who use British Sign Language go. Years ago, while working at Craigie High, a little deaf boy joined her class. “To be honest, I panicked a little because I’d never had a deaf child in the class,” said Gill. Onwards and upwards, she learned the language, and meeting that child sparked an interest in working with — and for — deaf children. Now, she’s a specialist teacher in the field and throughout has been given amazing support from husband David, a physics teacher at the Harris and local association secretary of the teaching union, the EIS. The couple have two children, Georgina, four, and James, who’s two-and-a-half. “I have worked with deaf children for 16 years now,” said Gill. “And I recently experienced Georgina having glue ear and surgery. The health professionals who helped were marvellous.” “Georgina’s blossoming now and the surgery seems to have been successful,” added David.
Last year, Gill was contemplating the fact she was soon to be hitting “the big 4-0” when she learned that a long-time friend had suffered a sudden and unexpected bereavement. “Her brother died. He was only 48, a fit and healthy guy and he just had a heart-attack and died,” said Gill. “It was one of those ‘seize the day’ moments, I suppose. I decided to help the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS)and run the London Marathon.” David’s an experienced runner, with seven marathons under his belt, so he knows about the training, pacing and stamina required, while Gill didn’t. “We both entered the ballot to run and applied to the NDCS to run on their behalf,” said Gill. “Later, we both had word we had not secured a place through the ballot or NDCS. To be honest, my reaction was one of relief — at least had tried. Two weeks later, I had a call from the NDCS to offer me a place and I leapt at it I applied to the NDCS as it is the main charity I want to support. I’ve seen over the years the incredible opportunities and support it gives to deaf young people and their families. It provides opportunities for deaf children to meet other deaf children both locally and nationally, doing so in a fun and supportive way. They bring so much confidence to young people, showing them what they can do. I was really nervous about taking on this challenge. My aim was simply to get round. I found the support from others also doing it for the NDCS invaluable. I am not a natural runner but, on the day, Team NDCS, the crowds and some inner strength spurred me on. David did it in 4hrs 29min and I did it in 6hrs 48min. I ran the first half and walked the second.”
Source:Evening Telegraph

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