Inspirational torchbearers gear up for Norwich’s Olympic Torch visit
13:53 03 July 2012
The world’s eyes will be on Norwich this week as 24 torchbearers carry the Olympic Flame through the city.
Each and every one of them has been selected because of the inspirational stories they have to tell.
Some have achieved great things in the face of adversity while others have given up their own time for others.
They make up 8,000 torchbearers who are carrying the Olympic Torch during its 70-day tour of the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Park for the opening ceremony on July 27.
Those carrying it through Norwich are:
Tom Ward, 48, from Norwich.
Brian Armstrong, 75, from Reading.
He has made a lifelong contribution to rowing as a highly successful club and international coach. He was the international manager/performance director with British Rowing in 1990 and is considered as the architect of rowing’s current performance structure.
Charlotte Peck, 24, from Harleston.
Two years ago she was very ill with anxiety and depression. She recovered after about a year of treatment. Since recovering, she trained as a Community First Responder. She is also a full-time nursery nurse and is studying for a degree with the Open University to become a teacher.
Daniel Browne, 19, from Norwich.
He was born with a bi-lateral cleft which not only affected his speech, but also his hearing. In his 19 years, he has undergone 20 operations to restore his ability to speak and hear clearly. He is actively involved with Catton Grove Residents’ Association, became youth member of the Mile Cross and Catton Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel in 2010 and was elected as secretary for Norwich City Home Watch Association in 2011.
Gary Niblock, 45, from Norwich.
He is a Heart FM Angels co-ordinator and has run six marathons for charity including one for the radio station’s charity “Have a Heart” where the money goes to under-privileged children within the community.
Ian Scopes, 36, from Ipswich.
He has run the London Marathon twice as well as many local races, raising money himself for a local cancer unit and last year completed a Gurka challenge to again raise money for charity.
James Colley, 23, from Norwich.
He is studying chemistry at the University of East Anglia and is a qualified and highly-regarded hockey umpire who was recently invited by the East Regional Young Hockey Umpires’ Association to umpire at an exchange tournament in France.
Jessica Savage, 16, from Norwich.
She is a sports leader and coach who has racked up more than 200 hours leadership skills and helps out at both the local high school and gymnastics club.
Melissa Ilboudo, 26, from Norwich.
Since arriving in the UK Melissa has worked for Christian Aid, and raised £330k with matched funding from the EU for her home country of Burkina Faso by undertaking fundraising including a triathlon and half marathon and giving talks about her country and the challenges it faces.
Sarah Mcgahan, 18, from Diss.
She plays for her local cricket team Garboldisham and the Norfolk ladies. She also coaches every Friday night after gaining her level two coaching. As well as full-time education, she has managed to do more than 500 hours of community work in the last four years.
Simon Stokes, 50, from Norwich.
He is a local church minister and is blind. He has done several amazing things to raise money for Bowthorpe Community Trust Workshop, a charitable organisation which works with trainees with learning and other difficulties to help them acquire work skills and gain a feeling of self-worth.
Connie Adam, 84, from Norwich.
She started fencing when she retired at 60. She has since gone on to represent Great Britain many times and has previously been European Champion in epee and Commonwealth champion. She won a bronze medal at the World Veteran Fencing Championships last year.
Kate Walsh, 32, from Twyford.
She has been captain of both Great Britain and England’s women’s hockey team for eight years and is currently the most capped player, competing in two Olympic Games, three World Cups and six European Nations Cups.
Ena Mallett, 79, from Norwich. She has been a lollipop lady for 27 years at South Walsham’s Fairhaven Primary school, is a seventh dan black belt, runs a fitness class once a week for the local villagers and has been an Avon lady for 47 years, serving the local community.
Frances Rayner, 44, from Downham Market. She has run the London Marathon twice, is a Village Games Sports Coordinator in Downham Market through Active Norfolk, has organised a running club at a local school for the last four years, holds an annual mini marathon and has been actively involved in the local hockey club for 30 years.
Gren Davies, 49, from Norwich. He has been recognised for his work at Vodafone.
Josh Cox, 18, from Didcot. A young weightlifting talent who currently trains at his school in Oxford and is also a part of the British Weight Lifting Talent Squad.
Lisa Weston, 22, from Harlow. While her mum has been poorly with cancer for two years, she has helped by looking after her three sisters, cooking dinners, shopping and bathing and clothing them.
Mwelu Manyasi, 27, from Nairobi. A photographer from the slums of Nairobi who has managed to have a solo photo exhibition in Holland and published a book.
Roger Hadley, 60, from Norwich. The founder of Norwich Door to Door, which supports 500 severely disabled children, adults and older people with mobility problems who are unable to leave their own homes without specialist care and assistance.
Sean Harris, 21, from Wymondham.
After his grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, he decided he wanted to raise money for Cancer Research UK. He planned and funded a gruelling 10-day solo cycle trip in which he flew to Zurich and then cycled from Zurich to the Hook of Holland. He raised more than £1,000.
Susie Knights, 40, from Norwich. As the finance and communications manager at the YMCA, she has helped the charity reach its £1m fundraising target for its new accommodation for homeless young people.
Norfolk County Council is keen to hear about residents’ Torch Relay experiences, as part of research regarding a number of events that make up Norfolk’s 2012 programme. Residents wanting to take part need to visit www.norfolkcelebratingtalent.co.uk. Everyone completing the online survey will be entered into a prize draw for a £50 Norwich Theatre Royal voucher. All information provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and will not be used for any other purpose.
Torch traffic arrangements – Page 4