WOW! I’m speechless. For the first time in a long time, I really don’t know what to say. It still hasn’t sunk in really. On Saturday 23rd June 2012 at approximately 17:40 I had the immense honour and privilege of carrying the Olympic Flame through Cheetham Hill in Manchester. I joined the other 7,999 people who had been nominated and chosen to help carry the Flame around Great Britain, as it passed through villages, towns and cities, making its way to the Olympic Stadium to mark the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.
You’ll know from my previous post that I was so excited to be chosen, especially given my background in sport, or lack thereof. But in the last 18 months, it turns out that I’ve achieved quite a bit for someone who used to make up excuses to get out of PE:
24 mile swim, 150 mile row, 874 mile bike ride, 3 marathons (treadmill, Dubai, stormy Manchester), Yorkshire & National 3 Peaks Challenges, and the Royal Marines Endurance challenge are amongst the 18 of 21 challenges completed so far.
On top of this, and somehow convincing an army of people to get involved by challenging themselves with me, I’ve managed to raise more than £8,000 for Help for Heroes, with another few grand still to go. So whilst I still feel very humbled to have joined a plethora of amazing people who are also carrying the torch, I am extremely proud to have been chosen for my charity challenge project.
Given the fact I’m still a little bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, I’m not going to labour things with my usual War & Peace style update. Instead, I want to say thank you to a few people, and then let the pictures tell the story.
But first, cue BAFTA style acceptance speech now:
THANK YOU to…….
Sarah & Joe for believing in me enough to nominate me to be an Olympic Torchbearer – I found it hard to accept, given what other torchbearers had achieved, but when I think about it, and the change I’ve made in myself over the last 18 months, the time & resources I’ve given up for training, racing and fundraising, I was very proud to carry the Torch.
Rupert for so kindly and generously buying the torch for me to keep as a lasting iconic memory, and not to mention his amazing involvement in the project to date. Without question he has travelled around the country with me completing a whole host of challenges, pushing himself physically to support me in the project. He optimises what true friendship is all about.
My family for their endless & unequivocal support throughout the project. They’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly from me over the last 18 months, but have been there for me always.
Team [21:21] for coming to support on the day which included: Mum, Dad, Nick, Toby, Sarah, John, Rupert, Vicky, Becky, Jayne, Steve, Theo, Laura, Jenna, Sheila, Sally, Kev, Lisa & Christine. The people who have supported me challenge after challenge, attending races to support or offering assistance in arranging transport, entry and recovery.
The amazing Manchester torchbearers who I shared the afternoon with, especially Martin, Susannah, Sue, Jonathan & Chris – more about these guys further down.
And finally the phenomenal British public for lining the streets of Manchester to show their support. For all the naysayers who have said that the Olympics are just for Londoners should have seen the streets on Saturday afternoon. People from all over the city came along to support the Torch Relay and cheer on the Torchbearers, and you could see from the reaction on people’s faces that seeing and handling the torch was a really big deal.
And so it is without further ado, and with great pride and humbled honour, that I present to you, the London 2012 Torch Relay in Manchester…….
Ex-serviceman Martin Hewitt collects the Flame from Jonathan Whitehead, whilst commemorating the 100th birthday of Alan Turing.
Martin served 8 years in HM Parachute Regiment leading on operations and training exercises all over the world including Europe, Africa, Middle East and USA. In 2007 Martin was shot leading his men in an attack against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The incident left Martin with Arterial bleeding and a paralysed right arm resulting in medical discharge from the Army.
In 2011 Martin was part of the first disabled team to walk unsupported to the North Pole with HRH Prince Harry. This expedition was televised by BBC1 in a two part documentary called Harry’s Arctic Heroes and inspired other soldiers with debilitating injuries to fight back to fitness post injury. Martin was then the expedition manager for the 2012 expedition to Mt Everest, where he lead 5 injured soldiers to the top of the world on another ground-breaking expedition.
An extremley awe inspiring man.
A proud mother & father
The reaction from the public was just incredible – you could see that the Olympic Torch Relay really had grabbed hold of the British spirit
The public in Manchester really made it a day to remember
It’s been one hell of journey from swimming in the North Sea, to running three marathons and more. It’s been a tough, challenging, tiring and even bone breaking journey, but it’s one that I’m extremley proud of, and one that has really changed my life.
So proud, excited, humbled & honoured to be able to keep this piece of Olympic history.
Thanks Rupert, you’re a trooper!
Olympic Torch Legacy
Limited edition artwork given to me by Kate, the Managing Director of where I work, who also kindly sponsored the project £100 per challenge, becoming the largest corporate sponsor to date
Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge