Oxfordshire Torchbearers set for Abingdon applause
Four individuals from Oxfordshire are among those set for a moment in the spotlight when they carry the Olympic Torch through Abingdon-on-Thames.
Aron Steele, Margaret Brown, Sue James and Suzanne Dando are among eight Torchbearers who have been nominated to carry the Olympic Flame when it makes its way through the streets of Abingdon on Tuesday 10 July.
The occasion will be a great honour for the four individuals who are among the 8,000 inspirational people will carry the Olympic Flame as it journeys across the UK. Nominated by someone they know, it will be their moment to shine, inspiring people from the local, national and international communities.
12 year old Aron Steele, from Didcot, has been a pupil at Fitzwaryn School for two years and during that time he has grown to be a responsible and very caring young man. He has successfully developed strategies to also help him cope with emotional problems. Aron has real compassion for others and has developed strong friendships within school.
Aron, whose attitude to life encompasses the Olympic values, said: “I am very excited about carrying the torch and really pleased to have been chosen. We have been learning about the Olympics and the different countries in school.”
Sue James, from Carterton, has volunteered for Save the Children for more than 30 years. Her fundraising efforts have included running the London Marathron three times and writing an annual pantomime where all profits go to the charity.
Sue, whose Save the Children branch has raised more than £1million, said: “It is a real honour and privelege to be carrying the torch, especially through my home county of Oxfordshire. It was a surpise and delight to have been nominated by my husband. Many friends and family are coming to see the run through Abingdon, let’s hope the sun will shine.”
Oxfordshire resident Suzanne Dando is a former Olympic Gymnast and British Champion, and currently Sky sports broadcaster. For the past 30 years Suzanne has continually raised vital funds for her chosen charities. It was the Children's Trust, of which she is an honorary Vice President, who nominated her to be a torch bearer. She will be carrying the torch through Abingdon alongside fellow Torchbearer Alfie Russell, who she ran the London Marathon with and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Children's Trust.
Suzanne, who has provided unwavering support to the young people who have received treatment at the Trust, said: "Competing at the 1980 Olympics was the pinnacle of my sporting career and an amazing experience, but to be involved in our 'home' Olympics 32 years later as a torch bearer is an absolute honour. I'm delighted that Abingdon was chosen to have the torch pass through, and I do hope the local people will come out and cheer us on despite the early start.”
Abingdon’s own Margaret Brown Margaret Brown has raised thousands of pounds for the Jane Ashley Unit at the Churchill Hospital as well as for the new Cancer Centre and Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre. Margaret, who is profoundly deaf and who has had breast cancer herself, raised funds by abseiling down the JR and organising charity cycle rides through Oxfordshire.
Margaret, who continues to champion the needs of deaf people who have been diagnosed with cancer, said "to carry the Olympic Torch is a once in a lifetime and it's very special. It is going to be amazing and what an honour.”
Cllr Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, who invited the Torch Relay to pass through Abingdon, said: “We would like to congratulate all of the Torchbearers who will be carrying the Flame in Abingdon, and we look forward to hearing an extra loud applause for Aron, Sue, Suzanne and Margaret who will be recognised on Tuesday 10 July for the special contribution that they have made to life right here in Oxfordshire.”
Cllr Monica Lovatt, Mayor of Abingdon-on-Thames, said: “We are delighted that Abingdon has been chosen as one of the Oxfordshire towns that the Olympic Torch will pass through. The four selected Torchbearers are local people who are an inspiration to the rest of us. We will be out in force to cheer them on.”