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Fired up for the torch relay
Since it was first lit at Olympia in Greece, on May 10, the torch for the 2012 London Olympics has been carried by thousands of hands.
And here in Oxfordshire a legion of loyal bearers will do their bit to get it to the games’ opening ceremony in London on Friday, July 27.
The torch arrives in Oxfordshire on Monday afternoon and will pass through Bicester, Kirtlington, Woodstock, Kidlington before reaching Oxford for an evening of celebrations.
The following morning it will leave the Iffley Road athletics stadium just after 7am, before passing through Abingdon, Wallingford, Crowmarsh Gifford, Nettlebed and Henley en route to Playing his part in the torch’s progress is Joe Robinson, 21, from Thame, who broke almost every bone in his body in a 2009 car crash on the A34 Oxford bypass near Wytham.
Joe has raised thousands of pounds for the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford since his accident to thank staff for nursing him back to health.
He will carry the torch through Theale in Berkshire on Wednesday.
The student, who was in a coma for four weeks after the crash, was also chosen to star in a national advertising campaign for Coca-Cola, with stars like Eliza Doolittle and Dizzee Rascal. He said: “It’s very cool, but a little bit surreal. And it’s so good to be carrying the torch, it’s going to be fantastic.”
Banbury teenager Will Traves was chosen to carry the torch to recognise the help he gives to his sister Victoria, who has special needs. The proud 13-year-old will carry the torch on Tuesday after being nominated to take part in the relay by his mother Beverley.
She was moved to fulfil his Olympic dream because of the care he shows to 17-year-old Victoria, who has cerebral palsy and severe learning difficulties.
Beverley said: “From a very young age he has always told me not to worry about Victoria when I’m gone.
“He looks after her. He has always stuck by this and says Victoria will always have a place in his life.”
Will, a pupil at the Warriner School n Turn to Page 2 in Bloxham, pupil said he was “really excited” to be asked carry the torch through Nettlebed as it travels across south Oxfordshire.
He said: “I couldn’t wait to tell everyone. We always watch the Olympics as a family, so it’s great to be part of it.”
Jade Brathwaite, 17, from Wantage will carry the torch through Abingdon. She met some n Turn to Page 2 Olympic ‘celebrities’. The Year 12 pupil met the Games’ official mascots Wenlock and Paralympic mascot Mandeville when they visited King Alfred’s Academy to join in with the school’s sports day.
The Wantage school is the only secondary school in the country to get a visit from the pair of mascots thanks to the specialist sports college’s involvement in the Get Set Programme – a scheme to use the London 2012 games to inspire young people through sport.
Jade, who is county badminton champion, said: “Meeting the 2012 mascots at my school was very exciting and made me realise what an incredible experience carrying the Olympic torch is going to be for me.
“I feel very grateful that I was chosen to be part of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.”
Air Cadet volunteer Mo Merchant, 70, from Wantage, will also carry the flame through Nettlebed.
Becci Berry, who lives in Coleshill near Faringdon, carried the torch through Chiseldon, near Swindon, on Wednesday, May 23.