Commonwealth honour for dad and daughter

Pierre and Courtney Bernard, two of Forfar's baton bearers.
Pierre and Courtney Bernard, two of Forfar's baton bearers.

When father and daughter Pierre and Courtney Bernard take part in this weekend’s Queen’s Baton Relay, the day will hold a double significance.

Courtney has been battling scoliosis - a curvature of the spine - which was diagnosed when she was seven years old, since when Pierre has also worked for the Scoliosis Association UK.

Saturday will be International Scoliosis Awareness Day and both dad and daughter are delighted to be taking part in the relay and to raise awareness of the condition.

It will be even more memorable as they will be consecutive bearers and Pierre will pass the baton to Courtney on its way along Market Street in Forfar.

Courtney, 15, was nominated for the relay by staff at Forfar Academy for her achievements in sport for people with a learning disability and is the school’s official representative in the event.

She said: “I didn’t expect to run with it and when the head teacher told me in the dinner hall that I would be I was in tears. I’m looking forward to it but I’m a bit nervous.”

Pierre, who is currently regional secretary and trustee for the Scoliosis Association UK, was nominated for his work with the charity but also for his role as a swimming coach for the Tayside Special Olympics squad.

As well as supporting patients and their families, he also started up a fund-raising charity ball, and he also raises awareness about scoliosis and the need for treatment if a person is diagnosed with the condition.

Pierre said: “At eight years old Courtney was given a spinal brace which she had to wear 20 hours a day. She has only recently had the brace removed to see how her spine reacts and returns to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for a check-up three days before the baton relay.

“Courtney may still have to undergo spinal surgery to have metal rods inserted into her back if the curves in her spine increase.

“As regional secretary and trustee for Scoliosis Association UK I cannot think of a greater honour in being selected to carry the baton in recognition of my work for the charity on the day that has been declared an awareness day by scoliosis charities across the world.

“Saturday, June 28 will be a day to remember for the rest of our lives.”