Alison's Blaze of Glory

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Would you have been hiding behind the curtains if the Olympic torch relay had passed through your village or would you have been there to embrace it head on? Whether you are for or against the Olympics and all that goes with it, here's my account of something that I for one am very proud to have been part of. I first found out that I was to be one of the 8,000 torchbearers who would carry the Olympic flame in December last year. My selection was apparently on the basis of my charitable and community work with the local children's charity, Bassetlaw Play Forum. My initial reaction was why me? There had apparently been 80,000 nominations and instantly, I could think of so many people I knew that I believed were far more worthy. We do things in life for which we do not seek reward or repayment and for me, the joy is always in the doing.

Humble acceptance of my selection turned into excitement, as I learned that I would carry the flame through East Markham on 28th June 2012, fairly close to home.

There is so much to tell of this remarkable day but in a nutshell, this was it.

At 9.33am, I stood in my official uniform at the corner of Plantation Road and Hall Road, ready to receive the flame from a young man called Dave Young. The streets were teaming with people of all ages, who just wanted to be part of the historic relay. The road was a sea of flags, painted faces, banners and of course, my family, friends and so many of the children that I work with. As the convoy vehicles of the relay's sponsors passed, excitement amongst the crowd reached fever pitch. It was simply amazing and a bit of a blur if I am honest.

After the kissing of the torches I felt so overcome by emotion and excitement. I felt proud to be British and thought to myself, we have really got this right. The metropolitan police officer who was behind me, told me that when he tapped me on my shoulder I could start my run. I had absolutely no intention of running and promptly told him that I was going to skip but not until I had handed him the torch, so that I could do a bit of a cartwheel. He smiled and looked shocked but went with it and off I went, skipping waving and leaping throughout my entire part in it all. At the end of my leg, into convoy mode went the flame and onto the convoy bus went I, well after lots more waving, shouting and a bit more jumping.

The convoy bus took me through other villages, where I witnessed the same level excitement and watched others enjoy their moment to shine. I met some truly remarkable people on the bus that day and I will remember the experience vividly, for the rest of my days.

For me, the Olympics is about so much more than the best of the best taking the world's most competitive stage and someone coming out on top. It's about values, friendship, hope, inspiration, the setting aside of differences and all of the possibilities the this colourful life brings.

To the cynics, all I can say is that so far, the torch that I carried has now been in the hands of around 1,000 children. It's effect is mystifying, almost hypnotic and although there may be many who would sell their torches on eBay in a flash, I can honestly say that no amount of money could ever measure up to the look on just one of these children's faces - priceless!

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Hi Alison, I just wanted to say WELL DONE I can't believe
you did a CARTWHEEL, but then again That is so you!!

I saw the Torch with my daughter a few days later in MARKET HARBOROUGH, the atmosphere was amazing, and we will never see it again! I'm sure all Caterpillar Music Leaders are all so very proud of you. WHAT a STAR Val
Commented by Val Bailey July 13, 2012
Last updated: July 11, 2014

val bailey

Hi Alison, I just wanted to say WELL DONE I can't believe
you did a CARTWHEEL, but then again That is so you!!

I saw the Torch with my daughter a few days later in MARKET HARBOROUGH, the atmosphere was amazing, and we will never see it again! I'm sure all Caterpillar Music Leaders are all so very proud of you. WHAT a STAR Val

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