When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Basingstoke people to carry Olympic flame
MORE than a dozen inspirational people from The Gazette area will have their own ‘moment to shine’ by carrying the Olympic flame in the coming days and weeks.
From amazing charity fundraisers to high-ranking public servants, 14 people will be taking part in the torch relay across London and the south of England.
Pensioner Margie Doherty, 81, from Popley, Basingstoke, is the sole local person who will have the honour of running through her home town when she takes part in the Basingstoke leg of the torch relay on Wednesday, July 11. However, there are many other local people who have been chosen to carry the torch elsewhere.
For Bev Derham, from North Warnborough, it will be a moment of immense pride. The 56-year-old has battled cancer for two decades, undergoing numerous rounds of painful treatment, but she continues to be an inspiration for other cancer sufferers.
Bev, who works as an IT administrator at BMW, in Hook, will be carrying the torch through the London Borough of Hackney on July 21.
The mother-of-one told The Gazette: “It will be a great honour for me, and I am really looking forward to it. It is something you would never expect to experience in your lifetime.”
Ranil Jayawardena, deputy leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, has been nominated as a torchbearer by his employer Lloyds Banking Group, one of the main Olympics sponsors. The 25-year-old, who represents the Bramley and Sherfield ward and became the youngest ever Cabinet member on the council, will be carrying the flame through Preston, in Dorset, on July 13.
Cllr Jayawardena said: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch, and I am very much looking forward to it. We have already seen how the Olympic Torch has brought communities together so it is a great privilege to be part of.”
Meanwhile, fantastic fundraiser Emma Cope, 15, will be taking part in the torch relay in Newbury on July 11. Emma suffers from a rare kidney disease but has still raised more than £40,000 for the Nephrotic Syndrome Trust.
Emma, who won A Place to Be Proud of Award this year, said: “I am so excited – I can’t believe it is actually happening. It is going to be such an honour to carry the torch. I could not have raised this much money without the hard work of my family and friends, so this is for them really.”
Among the other local people taking part in the relay is BBC sports presenter Clare Balding. Clare, whose family own a successful stables in Kingsclere, will be running in Newbury. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Basingstoke ice-skating prodigy Danielle Harrison will be taking part in Andover, also on July 11, and Colin Godfrey, honorary president of Basingstoke Bluefins swimming club, will be running in Easebourne on July 16.