AS a volunteer presenter for 96.5 Bolton FM, I recently had the honour and pleasure to interview Bolton’s Paralympic champion Tony Griffin.

Not knowing too much about Tony, I visited his website — — for research and was amazed by the life story of this quiet, unsung local hero.

In 1984, Tony competed in the New York Paralympics and brought back two gold medals, one silver and one bronze, an impressive collection that still tops the tally of Jason Kenny and Amir Khan put together.

Despite his massive achievements (38 sporting medals in all) he has a clear, old-fashioned perspective of life’s true values.

When I asked Tony about his spectacular appearance at the 2012 paralympics opening ceremony, in front of 80,000 spectators including the Queen, he said he would definitely put it at number four on his personal achievement list.

Number four? Yes, because firmly at the top and second spots were the births of his children and his marriage to his beautiful wife, Carla. Even becoming a gold medallist took only third place.

I was moved and humbled when Tony told me about the love of his devoted mother who had inspired such a belief in himself that he was able to overcome his disability to achieve sporting greatness. When she died in 1989 he dedicated his medals to her love by having them buried with her.

Such selfless devotion is only part of the measure of our quiet local hero who continues to inspire and support Bolton sports activities.

As these glorious games in London show how the physically disadvantaged are inspiring even the most able-bodied, we should all embrace the new, long-awaited breed of role models that will emerge to inspire the next generation, regardless of ability.

Well done Tony, for doing your bit before we all realised how the true spirit of sport can enrich our lives.

Elaine Taylor Little Lever