26 August 2009

Wheelchair user's plinth 'stand'

Mrs Pedler said she wanted to raise awareness of disabled access
An 84-year-old woman in a mobility scooter has taken up temporary residence on Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth to help promote disabled access.

Gwynneth Pedler, from Cumnor, in Oxfordshire, was the oldest volunteer to be chosen for Anthony Gormley's 100-day-long living art project in London.

She began her one-hour stint at 0300 BST and waved semaphore flags telling people to live their lives to the full.

She is now planning to go paragliding for her 85th birthday on 23 July, 2010.

Mrs Pedler said Monday's experience was "absolutely brilliant," in spite of the rain.

'Semaphore training'

She said her flags got very wet and "kept flopping in my face" but she stayed focused on getting across the positive message that she wanted to, from 25ft (7.62m) high up on the plinth.

Mrs Pedler is a former Oxfordshire school teacher and said she learnt semaphore as a girl when she was a sea ranger.

As a result of her plinth exhibit she said: "The cause of disability and access will be in some people's minds who haven't had it in their minds before."

Shortly after being lowered down, she announced her intention to spend her 85th birthday paragliding.

"I've been up the rigging in a tall ship in my chair, I've been up the plinth in my scooter, next year I am going to go paragliding in some form of transport," she said.

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