A PARALYMPIAN from Bury St Edmunds has become one of the first people in the country to be nominated to carry the Olympic torch next year.
Wheelchair athlete Brian Alldis, who is busy preparing to compete in the London 2012 games, could carry the torch on an attachment to his hand cycle as the flame travels through Suffolk in July next year.
He was nominated on Wednesday, the day nominations opened for the 8,000 people who will carry the torch as it travels around the UK ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony on July 27.
“It came as a bit of a shock,” said Mr Alldis. “It would be a great honour to carry the torch in Suffolk. I’d love to, it would be a real pleasure. I hope lots of people get nominating. It is a great chance to be part of history and the legacy of the games.”
Suffolk County Council, who nominated Mr Alldis is now urging people to get nominating at www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay – the deadline for entries is June 29.
Adam Baker, Suffolk’s project manager for the games said: “It is more than just sport, it is about people with inspirational stories who have achieved personal bests or who have contributed to their community. It is not a popularity contest.
“In West Suffolk and Bury there are lots of people who should be nominated, people who we feel or the county feels deserve the honour of carrying the flame. We really want to encourage community groups to give some thought to who they want to nominate.
“The Olympics are not going to be back here again in our lifetime and to carry the torch is going to be a huge honour.”
Wednesday also saw the announcement of the 74 towns and cities where the Olympic flame will be kept overnight – it will come down from Norwich and stay in Ipswich on July 5 before travelling on to Chelmsford and Cambridge. The exact route of the torch procession is expected to be announced in November and both Mr Alldis and Mr Baker are still hopeful of the flame coming to Bury.
“The town has got so much involvement in sport and we have got the Rwandan team coming to train here. It is a shame that we were not chosen for stop over but fingers crossed. It will be even better if I get the chance to carry the torch through my home town,” said Mr Alldis.