So this is it: Saturday 23rd June has finally arrived, and with it comes the great honour of carrying the Olympic Flame as part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
The Flame has made its way around the country, stopping in some amazingly iconic locations, including the legendary Boston Spa, where I grew up. But this Saturday, it will arrive in the city of Manchester, where I have made my home for the last 10 years.
I’ve said it before, but I’m so excited to get this chance to be part of something so big. I still can’t believe that I was nominated last year, and successfully picked to be one of 8000 people to transport the Flame around the country, before it reaches the Olympic Opening Ceremony in July.
I’ve been interviewed by a number of radio stations this week, and one of the questions asked was “how do you think you’ll feel on the day”. My response has been: Excited, nervous, honoured, amazed. For someone who never liked sport, and dodged PE like the plague, to be chosen to carry the Flame because of my commitment to Sport & the Local Community is still a bit of a shock. But I’m not just going to be carrying the Torch just for me, I’m carrying it for a whole host of people:
- My brother Nick, who inspired me to set up the challenge project
- My amazing friend Rupert, who has joined me on countless challenges
- Sarah & Joe, who nominated me to carry the Torch
- L Cpl Martin Gill, who sadly lost his life in Afghanistan on 5th June 2011
- The servicemen & women of the British Armed Forces who have come back from Afghanistan injured or worse.
- Everyone who has supported me across the last 18 months of my challenge project, including all those at Help for Heroes
For anyone who happens to be in or around Manchester on Saturday then I would love for you to come down and share this really cool day with me. I’m going to be carrying the Torch just North of Manchester City Centre, in Cheetham Hill, at approximately 17:40.
According to the information received from the LOCOG those that want to come along should head between: No. 1 Queen’s Road (A6010) & Cheetham Hill Road (A665) near Manchester Fort Shopping Park Turnoff.
For those who live a little further afield (from Adriana in Argentina to Laura in Australia), I’m told you can check out the excitement via the London 2012 or BBC websites – in fact you’ll probably get the better end of the deal, as I think we’re supposed to have torrential downpours on Saturday.
And as if things couldn’t get more exciting, I’m extremely grateful to a certain Mr Rupert Rowling who very kindly bought me the Torch to keep after Saturday. A long-lasting memento and gift from a truly special day.
Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge