One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Olympic Torch - Luton Monday
July 9th, 2012 at 06.31
Meet Your Torchbearers
|Name: Ben Jell
Nomination: He always puts others first and himself last. He is a very caring and kind-hearted person. He has given a lot of his time at weekends running local football teams. At present he is the mayors consul and supports a lot of charity events that they attend to raise money for charities such as MENCAP, Signpost and many others. He is, in my opinion a very worthy candidate.
|Name: Bruce Benedickter
Hometown: Leighton Buzzard
Nomination: Bruce was nominated for his continuous efforts to help all those around him. His charity fundraising including sponsored shoe shines for comic relief, sleeping rough in aid of the homeless, biscuit collections and bake sales are just part of his contribution to the community. He also supports community groups and charities at home (as well as at work) via his church activities. He has been known to launch his own charity events if others aren't interested and is always doing what ever it takes to help others. Described as a 'fantastic individual always far too happy with ridiculously high morals'. His celebrated personality contributes to his suitability for the role of torch bearer. The considerable amount of nominations he receives emphasises the respect and admiration his colleagues have for him. He brightens up the work place and is a wholly worthy ambassador for Land Securities and the Olympic games.
|Name: Charlotte Ellis
Nomination: Charlotte is my grand-daugter and a keen canoeist. She trains 5/6 times a week and also races most weekends throughout the country. She regularly helps the youngsters and is also on the committee representing the juniors. She is popular with young and old alike. She has reached quite a high standard and has had training with the UK Development Squad. Last year she coped very well when her mother was ill for 12 months and had to have 3 major operations. Charlotte looked after her mother and the house whilst also studying for her GCSE's and continuing with her training. Also, at the same time, her father left to live in Australia without them and I am extremely proud of how she coped during these crises.
|Name: Emma Marks
Hometown: Leighton Buzzard
Nomination: Emma is my teenage daughter who has already given 10 years of her life participating in elite gymnastics, training five days per week after school. As with all teenagers, school work now needs to take precedence but this has not stopped her being involved with her local gymnastics club as a coach and young leader, using her vast knowledge of the sport to support the younger children to increase their skills and gain in confidence. From youngsters attending the club for birthday parties, the many children who attend camps during the school holidays to the regular coaching sessions which she leads twice a week, my daughter is always there ready to give her all, and still manages to hand her homework in on time!
|Name: Gemma Collis
Nomination: It's Gemma's sheer determination and will to succeed, despite suffering from a condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy(RSD). The official definition is as follows: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) involves a malfunction of the nervous system that causes pain (often diffuse, intense and unrelenting) and related sensory abnormalities. There may also be abnormal blood flow and sweating in the affected area, problems with movement of the muscles and changes in the structure of the tissues ('trophic' changes). Gemma is always in excruciating pain and unable to walk, but her story is inspiring!
|Name: Helen McFarlane
Nomination: Helen has for 11 years made fantastic local community contributions. She is Vice Chairman of the Wycombe Sports for the Disabled, providing sports and social facilities for the disabled. Helen organises fortnightly meetings, coordinates reciprocal events at local clubs, and runs the annual Sports Day. As trustee of Quaker Homeless Action, Helen drives a mobile library for the London homeless, three times a month, and helps organise the week-long Christmas Shelter, sleeping 25 and feeding 85 homeless a day. Helen runs three shifts herself, coordinating volunteers, serving food and working to find beds for attendees after the event
|Name: Hollie Baxter
Nomination: Hollie was born with Rubenstein Taybi Syndrome. She started to walk at the age of 5 and then her right patella dislocated at the age of 8 and she underwent extensive surgery. This was successful for a while and she began to walk. At the age of 10 Hollie's left patella then dislocated as did her right again.It was dediced by the surgical team at Great Ormond St that there was no surgery that could be performed and we were told that Hollie would never walk again.At the age of 11 Hollie was wheel chair bound and has remained and will remain in a wheelchair for life. Hollie is an amazing young girl who never complains and puts a smile on everybody's face as soon as they meet her. She is an inspiration to everyone who has the pleasure of meeting her.
|Name: Jacqueline Dowsing
Nomination: Jacqueline is a true 'giver' of her time to the benefit of other people and it would be wonderful for her to have 300m of thanks for all her efforts. In no particular order Jacqueline - works for Luton Borough Council as a trainer helping others achieve their work goals - volunteers as a Feeder every week at Luton & Dunstable Hospital for elderly patients - volunteers to work on the SOS bus at weekends in Luton town centre for vulnerable people in town - completes charity walks (3 Peaks, Hadrians Wall) - volunteers at NOAH every Christmas Day serving food to homeless and disadvantaged adults in Luton - works as a Presiding Officer on Election Days - makes sure her disabled sister - Claire - is safe, well and happy in her flat in Dunstable - knits scarves for her aunts and uncles in Suffolk
|Name: Kevin Lawlor
Nomination: Passion - Running. He has raised loads of money for charity including £5000 for cancer research and £2500 for the lifeboats and I just think he should get the chance to do something so close to his heart
|Name: Kieran Jays
Hometown: Houghton Regis
Nomination: Oak Bank is Bedfordhires only school for pupils with social, emotional and behaviorial difficulties. Kieran Jays is a Yr 7 pupil who is striving hard to overcome his learning difficulties by making the most of his opportunities. During Autumn term 2011, Kieran achieved the most effort and achievement awards of any pupil in Key Stage 3 demonstrating his desire to achieve academic excellence. He excels in PE, namely rock climbing, cycling skills and gymnastics and his attitude to achieving excellence is reflected in the Olympic Values by his determination to succeed,courage to overcome difficulties and spirit of friendship. In gymnastics Kieran acts as a peer mentor coach and his positivity in a school of disadvantaged and neglected young people is inspirational and worthy of him being the standard bearer to carry the Flame.
|Name: Kyle Mandry
Hometown: Menomonee Falls
Nomination: Kyle has truly inspired both staff and clients this past year as he dealt with a serious issue outside of work. Despite this situation, for those of us who count on Kyle's leadership, expertise and management, he didn't miss a beat. He continued to meet his deliverables, support clients and manage his team with excellence. His dedication was above and beyond by any measure. And although all were eager to assist, he was determined to minimize any impact to others. His strength, commitment and positive attitude we have come to depend upon never wavered - it only strengthened.
|Name: Matt Roche
Hometown: Leighton Buzzard
Nomination: I nominate Matt as a torchbearer. He was born with club feet. He had his first operation during his first month of life. He is now 15 and has had 7 subsequent operations to both his feet and legs. Despite the obvious pain of both the operation and the recovery as well as the difficulty of walking caused by having both legs in plaster he has never once complained or moaned about his lot. His attitude has been an inspiration to both his parents and has helped considerably in bearing the worry and concern that any stay in hospital engenders. He never uses his legs or feet as an excuse to get out of doing anything asked of him, but rather carries out the task with the maximum of good grace displayed by any teenager! He is a Young Leader at the local scout group and is adored by the younger boys who are all proud to be in 'Matt's Gang'. He is patient with them, listens, treats each with the same amount of respect and takes as long as is necessary to explain to them what is required and why.
|Name: Roger Crossley
Nomination: The General IT community and especially FZ-272 (IT Application Operations and IT Services) wish to nominate Roger Crossley for his charitable work in the community. Just a few examples are: 1) He raised £1,200 for Adventure Plus (youth charity organisation) by canoeing 127 miles down the River Thames over 6 days. Roger had not canoed before; 2) Supporting local Church charities, e.g. sponsored bike ride; 3) Mountain Challenge; 4) Carterton Gymnastics Club - Triathlon sponsorship and also received a grant from a local Sporting Awards event for this cause after submitting a proposal; 5) He supports and participates in the Voluntary Besom charity that provides a bridge between those who want to give time, money, things or skills and those who are in need; 6) He was a School Governor at a local Primary School for 5 years; and, 7) He has helped run church children and youth groups in local Aston Village for many years."
|Name: Stu King
Nomination: Stuart is an inspirational down to earth guy who has devoted his time and money to serving his local community and a range of charities. His work includes setting up and leading a social enterprise in Bedfordshire to help tackle obesity in children. In 2009 he raised thousands of pounds for the British heart foundation climbing mount Everest. This year he is completing and organising a group of 13 novice cyclists, including 3 tandems, to cycle from Lands End to John O Groats over 2 weeks for the charity Lymphoma association. He is a great example of someone who is selfless and dedicated to helping people in Bedfordshire and beyond
|Name: Tom Bennett
Nomination: To know Tom is to know a true athlete, somebody who goes the extra mile every day to inspire and drive others to achieve their goals. 3 years ago Tom decided to inspire and drive a team of associates and managers to better themselves and get fit in the process by creating a team to cycle the London to Oxford cycle event in aid of charity. Being part of the team that Tom created was a great honour and helped me to enjoy cycling again whilst also getting fit. Tom organised everything for this event from the people in the team to making sure everybody got there safely. Tom being Tom couldn't just stop with the one event, and the following year he went on and got the team together again to take on the bigger challenge of the Birmingham to Oxford cycle event, which was longer and more challenging.
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