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Paralympic torch relay: Torchbearers with a learning disability
Wednesday 29 August 2012
Inspiring people with a learning disability bring torch to London
In the early hours of 29 August, three people with a learning disability carried the Paralympic torch, which lit the cauldron at the Paralympic Games opening ceremony.
Earlier this year, Lloyds TSB (a sponsor of the torch relay) gave Mencap the opportunity to nominate three people with a learning disability to take part in the relay.
A group of judges chose the winning applicants. The judging panel included Mencap staff members as well as creative director Gary Harvey and his brother Ian, who has a learning disability.
The winning torchbearers are all involved in sport and in working with their communities.
The torchbearers were:
- David Stanley, 31, from London
- Jamie Graham, 21, from Staffordshire
- Lucy Collins, 40, from London.
The relay began on Wednesday 22 August, when flames were lit on each of the highest peaks of the UK’s home nations. On 28 August, the flames joined together at Stoke Mandeville – where the Paralympic movement began – to begin a 24-hour relay to the Olympic Park.
The three torchbearers nominated by Mencap, carried the torch through Bushey in Hertfordshire.
Jamie (pictured right) was nominated for his commitment to his local athletics club, including coaching younger athletes. Speaking ahead of the relay, Jamie said:
I’m so excited and very, very proud to be carrying the Paralympic Torch.
I have been an athlete since I was seven years old and it was my dream to take part in the Paralympic Games. When I found out they were in London I wanted it even more. But carrying the torch is the next best thing.
David (pictured above), was nominated for his involvement with his local community and promoting the rights of people with a learning disability. He has starred in a DVD about travelling independently, raised money for charity through sponsored walks, inspired a mainstream teacher to teach in a special school and helps staff and wheelchair users in his day cente.
"David was so excited – he enjoyed every minute and felt like a superstar," says his mum, Pauline. "David said carrying the torch was great! It's done wonders for his self-confidence."
London 2012 sees athletes with a learning disability make their return to the Paralympic Games after a 12-year ban
Find out more about learning disability and the London 2012 Paralympic Games
See more photos of the three Paralympic torchbearers and Mencap at the Games
Meet Olympic torchbearers Sara Pickard and Douglas Chamberlain