Inspirational Lantern Bearers announced for Paralympic Flame Celebration
Details of the inspirational Lantern Bearers leading the procession to Bath's Paralympic Flame Celebration on 25 August have been unveiled by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) granted permission to Bath & North East Somerset Council to organise its own Lantern Bearer Relay, which will form part of the carnival procession through the city on the afternoon of Saturday 25 August.
The Council invited the public to nominate people who they felt displayed the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality, and how they have made a difference or pushed the boundaries of what is achievable.
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Nine Bath and North East Somerset residents have been chosen to lead the 2,000m Lantern Relay – exchanging the Paralympic Lantern from one Bearer to the next – in front of the Rio Carnival Procession as it makes its way through the centre of Bath and into the Recreation Ground.
The Lantern will then be handed to ParalympicGB's Flame Ambassador and double-gold medallist Steve Brunt MBE who will place it on the stage at the Recreation Ground for the duration of the Paralympic Flame Celebration.
Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: "Bath and North East Somerset Council has the honour of hosting the Paralympic Flame Celebration on Saturday 25 August 2012, at the Recreation Ground, Bath. Our Paralympic Flame Celebration, one of only 34 nationwide, is a great way of showing our support for the British team, who chose the University of Bath as their key base, before they head off to London for the Paralympics.
"We encourage people to come out and see our inspirational local heroes along the route and join in with the celebrations. To help people make the most of the day, our Park and Ride sites will be open until 10pm on Saturday 25 August."
The Paralympic Flame Celebration will feature acts including 70s tribute band Car Wash, with Suspiciously Elvis headlining, as well as many local bands and groups taking part.
BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Newsreader, Dominic Byrne, will be compering the evening section of the event, interviewing members of the ParalympicsGB Team.
Mandeville, the official Paralympic Mascot, will also be making special appearances throughout the day.
Entry to the event is free but tickets must be obtained in advance, for all members of the family, including children and infants, from venues across the area. Food concessions and a bar, as well as a picnic area will be available on site.
Details of the inspirational Lantern Bearers taking part in the Relay:
Macauley Dempsey – Midsomer Norton
Macauley Dempsey was born with club feet and had 47 different operations before he was 10 years old culminating in his leg being amputated. Macauley then developed a cardiac condition and was often rushed to hospital for emergency treatment. With this heart condition under control, in the last couple of years Mac has found a new self-belief and has become confident in his disabled identity.
After becoming involved with the Playground to Podium programme Macauley was chosen to play on the inclusive school basketball team which won Gold in the national school games. He also plays for England West Scorpion team which won bronze in the national competition.
He has achieved a place on a Sports course at Filton college and is currently learning to drive. Macauley acts as a mentor and role model to the younger people within his clubs, or to those who have recently experienced any change in their abilities, promoting hope and a belief in themselves. He has embraced his disabled identity and is a great advocate for others.
Stephen Roberts - Freshford
Steve Roberts epitomises the ethos of the Paralympics and for the last 20 years has pushed back all sorts of boundaries. Steve was a highly talented rugby player who played for Bath Rugby, from junior, through the age groups and had a promising career in front of him. Just a few weeks before his 18th birthday he was in a scrum when it collapsed and Steve broke his neck, leaving him permanently in a wheelchair.
His story is one of unrelenting determination to overcome barriers, from gaining a law degree a few years later, to a career in the NHS, at the RUH in Bath today. Steve is also a cornerstone of the community in Freshford. He is an ever-present at local events, whether supporting his children, entertaining other people's children or volunteering to help with the different activities going on. Steve simply refuses to allow his disability to stand in the way of living the fullest of lives.
Jean Meredith - Radstock
As well as being the sole proprietor and operator of her own Hairdressing company, Jean is also the regular organist at Sunday morning and evening services at Radstock Methodist Church. Despite being past retirement age Jean and her husband Roy have regularly run in sponsored long distance races raising an estimated £100,000 for various charities including Clic Sargent who helped one of her grandchildren in recent years. Some of Jean's accolades include 70 marathons, in London, New York, Florida, Beijing, Boston, Moscow, Barbados, Athens, Dublin, Benidorm and Vienna.
Leanne Cole - Bath
In the first 7 years of her life Leanne was diagnosed with a brain tumour, had two major operations followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy leaving her with special needs. But through her experiences and huge personality she has become an amazing young person and is an inspiration to all around her. Leanne has achieved all she has as a result of her unstinting cheerfulness and determination.
Following her time at Threeways School Leanne then completed Project Search in the RUH in Bath and has subsequently taken a position as a ward assistant. Leanne has also recently started to raise money for a special needs group called "out and about" by doing a sponsored walk from Bath to Saltford.
Kelly Hutchins - Bath
Kelly has Cerebral Palsy. She has attended Ralph Allen School since Year 7 and quickly became a member of the Playground to Podium group, attending Talent Development days and County Assessments where she had a go at a range of different sports. During one of these assessment days Kelly was "spotted" by the Disability Athletics Association and was invited to a further Athletics Talent Day at Bath University. Kelly's career as a runner then took off!
She has won gold and silver medals at the Disability Sport Events Regional and National Championships and at the National Junior Championships. This year Kelly qualified to represent the South West of England at the UK School Games and came away with a personal best in both 100m and 200m. Kelly is currently ranked 5th in the UK for both the 100m and 200m, 1st in her age group for both events and 26th in the World.
She trains extremely hard and suffers pain in her legs from her condition but works through this to improve her performance. She has made it her goal to be selected for the 2016 Paralympic Games and her attitude and achievements are an inspiration to all.
Kelly is also keen to help and pass on her knowledge to others, helping disability athletics coaches to lead warm ups and coaching small groups. This has motivated Kelly to work towards the Sports Leadership Award. Kelly is also a spokesperson for disability awareness, giving ideas and helping to improve provision for disability. Kelly works extremely hard at her own athletics and in helping others. She is a fantastic role model for all her peers, pushing herself to her limits to fulfil her highest potential.
B&NES Network Members of Your Say Advocacy - Bath and North East Somerset-wide
This group of people with learning disabilities have all made an amazing contribution to the local community, demonstrating how much can be achieved when we work together as a team. Over the past 6 years the members have worked tirelessly on local projects which are of importance to them and have achieved a real, visible change for both people with learning disabilities and the wider community.
Some of their achievements include setting up community safety zones across the authority, creating a DVD which shows employers how people with disabilities can make a positive contribution to the workforce, influenced the development of Keynsham High Street to make it more accessible for all and also working with Aquaterra Leisure and Bath & North East Somerset Council to develop an easy-to-read swimming timetable.
Andy Stewart - Weston, Bath
Andy is a keen cyclist and rides both mountain bikes (off-road) and road bikes, including for competition. He has always been keen to help promote and encourage cycling, for all ages. He organises a weekly local ride and has organised other annual events, such as the 'Midsummer Madness' mountain bike ride with help from the Council. He has also been involved with helping to run the road races around Victoria Park.
Over the last few years Andy has also got involved with helping to encourage others to ride through the Council's 'Sky Ride' programme and has become 'Youth' co-ordinator for Bath Cycling Club. Andy is also involved in campaigning for cyclists rights as a member of the local group 'CycleBath'.
Outside of sport, Andy runs and/or participates in many local community events. He is Chairman of his local Residents Association and organises regular community events such as Apple Days and Wassailing, as well as one-off family events. He also belongs to the local 'Mummers' group, has helped with the local 'Weston Open Gardens' event, and has even offered his help as a school lollipop man, when they were in need!
The main reason for Andy's nomination was due to his determination to recover from a serious accident he had earlier this year.
On 30th March 2012 Andy was cycling home from work when a mechanical failure caused his front brake to jam in his front wheel throwing him over the handlebars. He landed on his face and head; he was knocked unconscious, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Frenchay Hospital where he underwent surgery. He fractured various bones in his face including his jaw and cheekbones, along with his wrist and, most serious of all, two vertebrae.
His recovery has been slow, and very painful. Despite this he has been determined to recover fully and exceeded expectations by being able to walk unaided within a short period of time. Although he is not yet back on his bike, and he is still lacking mobility and suffering a great deal of pain, he has stayed motivated and continues to organise things from behind the scenes.
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