Bourne’s Jade Etherington relives Paralympic spirit

Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell pose for a photo at National Paralympic Day in London. Photo: onEdition Photography.
Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell pose for a photo at National Paralympic Day in London. Photo: onEdition Photography.

Bourne’s skiing star Jade Etherington spent the day meeting scores of fans at an event that celebrated Paralympic athletes.

Jade, 23, was one of many heroes from the most recent summer and winter games to take part in National Paralympic Day in London on Saturday.

Visually-impaired Jade was joined by her sighted guide Caroline Powell, with whom she won three silver medals and one bronze in Sochi, Russia, earlier this year.

Trainee teacher Jade, who grew up in Bourne but now lives in Lincoln, had a great time at the Olympic Park on Saturday. She said: “There were a lot of children there, and it was really good to see their reaction.”

Jade and Caroline are now famous faces, but they are still getting used to being recognised.

“Every time we met someone they said they had watched us and they knew who we were,” said Jade.

“Before the games I had never met anyone who knew about visually impaired skiing. And I’m always very surprised by the feedback.

“People want to know more, and find out how to get into the sport.

“It was good to be in London and see whether people were still interested. I still feel like an inspiration.

“It’s really important to me because I’m kind of getting into motivational speaking. I really enjoyed that and I’ve been getting some great feedback.”

Since their success Jade and Caroline, who lives in Essex, have made many public appearances individually. But the pair were pleased to be able to meet people together for a change.

Jade said: “It’s good for people to see me and Caroline together. It’s always more exciting when she is there.”

Summer athletes also attended the event and Jade, who was in London for the games in 2012, was keen to find out more.

She said: “I went to the aquatic centre with (bronze medal swimmer) Susie Rodgers and met the team. That was really cool for me.

“I thought maybe I could try swimming.”

Jade and Caroline have faced many questions about their future and whether they will try to add to their tally at the next Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

But for now, Jade is concentrating on her other career. She said: “It was good to talk about (skiing). Good for both of us. It helps with our decisions on the future.

“We have talked about it but at the moment it’s still not the season and there’s still not much more on that side.

“I start my final teaching placement next week just outside Lincoln so I’m concentrating on that.”

Jade graduated from Bishop Grosseteste University in Lincoln two years ago with a degree in Education and Geography.