Tredegar paralmypian cycling gold medallist's mother so proud of her son
A SPECIAL bunch of flowers sits on the kitchen drainer at Margaret Colbourne's home - a precious souvenir of an incredible couple of days for her Paralympic cycling champion son.
Tredegar's Mark Colbourne, 42, carved his own piece of sporting immortality on Friday by winning the gold medal in the C1 3km individual pursuit event at a packed Velodrome at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, 24 hours after pedalling to a silver medal in the C1 1km time trial.
"He gave me the bouquet they give to medal winners. I didn't think they were real flowers, but it is beautiful," said a proud Mrs Colbourne.
"I think I'm going to keep part of it as a souvenir of Mark's achievement and lay the rest at his father's grave.
"I only wish Cecil had been there to see Mark because he was always encouraging him and he would have loved it."
Mrs Colbourne and Mark's daughter Jessica, 18, were at the packed 6,000-capacity Velodrome "screaming their heads off" last Thursday and Friday at the culmination of an incredible three-year journey from the wreckage of a paragliding accident on the Gower peninsula.
"Thursday was great but Friday was fantastic, a wonderful day, and what a performance," said Mrs Colbourne, of Sirhowy, Tredegar.
"Three years ago what Mark and we went through, I can't explain. It was like hell."
In May 2009, Mr Colbourne, who has worked previously for the Tredegar-based Hospice of the Valleys, was seriously injured at Rhossili, a broken back and lower limb paralysis resulting from the accident.
"He said a freak wind turned him over and down he went, but he landed on the beach feet first," said Mrs Colbourne.
"It has been a long hard road since then, and early on he was told he probably wouldn't walk again, but he just told the surgeon "watch this space."
"There wasn't anything negative about it with him, he turned negatives into positives every step of the way.
"He's always been active. He played volleyball for Wales in the 1990s and then there was the paragliding. Being fit definitely helped him in his recovery.
"He tried rowing but didn't really get on with it, but then Neil Smith from Disability Sport Wales got him into the Velodrome in Newport. That was only about 18 months ago and it's amazing to think that he was on stabilisers at first.
"He's come so far and we're all very proud of his achievements. Cecil died (of cancer) in February and I know Mark was cycling for him.
"Mark is already talking about the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016. But I think I'd have to sell my house to go to that!"