Sue and Colin Armfield, back from supporting their niece, Ellie Simmonds, at the Paralympics. Picture by Jamie White.
AN Island couple are celebrating after watching a young family member star at the London 2012 Paralympics.
Colin and Sue Armfield are back on the Island after seeing their niece, Ellie Simmonds, win four swimming medals for Team GB.
The couple, who live at Ventnor, witnessed the 17-year-old swimmer win gold medals in the 200m medley — breaking her own world record — and in the 400m freestyle — taking five seconds off the world record time.
They also saw her win silver in the 100m freestyle and bronze in the 50m freestyle.
Her proud aunt, Sue, said the atmosphere inside the Aquatics Centre was electric while Ellie was competing.
"We are absolutely thrilled for Ellie and so proud of her. It was amazing to be there watching her swim — and surreal. Everyone was on their feet cheering for her, especially when she broke the world record.
"We stayed in London for four days with Ellie’s parents, Val and Paul — who is my brother. The arena was packed out and there wasn’t a spare seat," said Sue.
Ellie, who was the youngest ever person to be awarded an MBE, at the age of 14, has achondroplasia, a common cause of dwarfism, and swims in the S6 disability category.
She lives part-time in Swansea, where she trains, and returns to the family home, at Aldridge, West Midlands, at weekends.
Sue, 65, whose son, Paul, runs Waterstones book store, Newport, said: "Hopefully, we will see her when we visit in October but we will definitely be all together at Christmas. She works so hard and deserves all her success."
Following a parade through the centre of London on Monday, Ellie tweeted: "Finally home after an amazing games, sad it is all over but it has been the best few weeks of my life!"