St Albans’ Olympic torchbearers all fired-up for relay honour
PUBLISHED: 13:54 04 July 2012
ST ALBANS’ Olympic torch-bearers have met up ahead of the much-anticipated relay through the city.
Ranging in age from 12 to 81, there will be 14 torch-bearers carrying the Olympic Flame through St Albans on Sunday, July 8.
However they were told at the informal gathering at St Albans district council (SADC) that they will not be informed until closer to the big day which leg of the relay they will carry the torch.
John Eastwell, 81, said he was “absolutely amazed” at being nominated for the relay.
He said: “I can’t believe it’s happening. I’m hoping for sunshine on the day.”
Natalie B, presenter on Heart FM, talks a lot for her job, but it will be her legs getting a workout for the relay rather than her dulcet tones.
The 34 year old, of Hedley Road, St Albans, is a keen athlete and joked: “I train anyway, so my only worry is falling on my face.”
She added: “I’m getting married in September so I’m going to have the torch at my wedding. My mum asked, ‘are you going to put flowers around it!’”
Unfortunately for Princess Helena College pupil Hannah Gallaher, at 12 the youngest torch-bearer, her pony Branston won’t be taking part in the relay.
The keen rider was impressed to see Zara Phillips carry the torch on her horse Toytown on to Cheltenham racecourse on day five of the 70-day torch relay.
Kate Thomas, of Abbots Avenue West, St Albans, was nominated as a torch-bearer as she has fostered more than 40 children, set up a teenagers’ talkline, and is a youth worker in her local church.
She said: “I am very excited. I feel like I’m part of history, it’s an honour and I’m humbled.”
Fourteen-year-old Rebecca Andrews was nominated for helping to look after her sister who has been receiving treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for a rare condition affecting only 12 children in the world. Rebecca has raised over £2,000 for GOSH.
The council has invited the community to take part in relay celebrations and support the torch-bearers.
Leanne Douglas, SADC community development and projects manager, said the council had been given the names of 13 torch-bearers with one more, possibly a VIP, to be revealed closer to the day.
The Olympic flame will enter the district from Hatfield via Hatfield Road at 4.04pm, and be carried along city streets until it leaves St Albans for Hemel Hempstead at 4.58pm.
The torch relay will go through the city in two convoys, including one travelling ahead of bearers to give the crowd a five-minute warning that the flame is close by.
The second, the flame convoy, consists of the Olympic flame, torch-bearers and support services.
SADC is advising people to start thinking about where they might stand to watch the event, and arrive about one hour before the flame is expected to arrive.
For more details see www.stalbans.gov.uk/olympic-torch-relay