Fame for people with Olympic torch factor
Last updated at 20:04, Thursday, 26 July 2012
As the 2012 Olympic Games open in London today, a select group of West Cumbrians have become mini-Olympic celebrities in their own right.
Torch bearers who took part in the Olympic Torch Relay on June 21 have been in high demand to share their experiences at schools, old people’s homes and with groups and organisations.
Mike Park, Inge Sullivan and Tracey Harrison have visited schools to show off their torches.
All three have applied to buy stands to display the torch in their homes.
Cockermouth Mountain Rescue team leader Mike, 47, of Pardshaw, a land surveyor at Sellafield, has visited Eaglesfield Paddle Academy where his two children Bramble and Millie attend, as well as St Joseph’s School in Cockermouth.
He said: “The torch has been round a few of the schools and I am thinking about taking it into work. I am definitely keeping it and not selling it on Ebay or anything like that.
“I want it to be something that will be passed on to my children and grandchildren.”
Inge, 53, of Kirkgate, Cockermouth, has taken her torch to Fairfield Junior School in Cockermouth and St Begh’s at Whitehaven.
She said: “All the pupils have had a photo taken with the torch. I feel like I have become a bit of a celebrity in a nice way.
“You feel like you are an ambassador for the Olympics.
“I can’t wait to see the cauldron being lit by the flame we have carried around the country.”
Tracey, 46, of Dale View, Cockermouth, has taken the torch to the town’s All Saints School a number of times where she works as an administration assistant.
She has also taken it to Fairfield Infant School and Dean School, where pupils have had pictures taken of them holding the torch.
Workington’s Lesley Jackson, 49, of Richmond Croft, Westfield, visited the town’s Rosecroft Residential Home with her torch.
Oldest resident Ethel Wallace, 100, said: “I never thought I would see it. My husband John and I used to do a lot of tandem cycling so I will be watching the cycling.”
Arnold Cartner, 72, of Workington, said: “It’s very nice of Lesley to fetch it here for us to see. I used to be a big runner at school so will be watching the 100 metres and all of the athletics on TV.”
Barry Johnson, 71, of Eaglesfield, has taken his torch around Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Ireland and Cumbria as part of a “five kingdoms challenge”.
He has taken the torch to the top of Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Slieve Donard in Ireland, and Snaefell on the Isle of Man, by cycling between.
Mr Johnson, who completed the challenge with Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin, of M-Sport, carried the torch in a camouflaged case to protect it.
He said: “Since the day, I have had people knocking on my door asking to see and touch the torch.
“On top of Snowdon there were Japanese tourists and other holidaymakers queuing up to have their pictures taken with it.”
Cockermouth teenager Ellie Blackley said she felt almost famous since she ran with the torch through Northallerton, Yorkshire, in June.
Ellie, 16, a pupil at Cockermouth School, visited the Cockermouth School Olympic Games earlier this month to share the torch with pupils from local primary schools.
Ellie also visited Broughton Brownies with her torch and it will go on Brownie camp with them in the next few weeks.
She said: “The response has been quite unbelievable. I’ve felt like a mini celebrity.”
Nick Ball, 49, of Windebrowe Avenue, Keswick, ran through Workington with the flame.
He helped to raise £450 for the Calvert Trust, where he works as an outdoor pursuits instructor by allowing people to have their photos taken with the torch. He was also a guest at an assembly at Keswick School.
He said: “It’s quite unusual being the focus of attention. Initially I was going to give the torch to the Calvert Trust, but my kids have insisted I keep it.”
Tessa Stockdale, 17, of North Road Farm, Bassenthwaite, who ran through Workington, took her torch along to Ireby Netball Club, which she runs, to thank members who nominated her.
She also took part in a mini-torch relay walk with Borrowdale Primary School and showed it to friends and teachers at Keswick School.
l TWENTY-two bus drivers from West Cumbria will take Olympic athletes around London.
Bus drivers from the Stagecoach depot at Lillyhall, Workington, are among 2,630 Stagecoach staff providing transport for athletes and the media throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Stagecoach will provide about 500 buses for the games, but will still run all its normal services.
First published at 19:25, Thursday, 26 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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