Military personnel announced as Olympic Torchbearers

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) confirmed places for those who will be carrying the Olympic Flame…

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) confirmed places for those who will be carrying the Olympic Flame during its 8,000-mile (12,875-kilometre) journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

LOCOG Chair, Seb Coe, said:

Today we bring the Olympic Torch Relay to life. The Flame symbolises the Olympic spirit and its journey around the UK will bring the excitement of the Games to our streets.

Now people know the route the Olympic Flame will be carried along, and who is running in which community, they can start planning in detail how they will celebrate the Torch coming to them and truly make it their moment to shine.

Members of all three Services, including those injured on operations, have been selected to take part in the relay in various places throughout the country.

Major Fiona Grist of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps will be carrying the Torch on a section of the route between Reading and Oxford in July.

On hearing of the nomination, Major Grist, who is currently the matron at the medical facility at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said ‘it was completely unexpected’ and that she was ‘ecstatic’ to have been chosen.

Also among the military Torchbearers is Royal Naval Reservist Commander Jane Allen, who was selected alongside her husband, former Royal Marines Captain Frank Allen.

Commander Allen, aged 55, is an IT project manager in civilian life, and her active duties have included a six-month tour in Iraq. On receiving the news of her and her husband’s selection, Commander Allen said:

It is a great honour and award to be selected to take part in this prestigious once-in-a-lifetime event; to be doing it as well as my husband makes it even more special.

Also taking part is Corporal Lee Hale, a Royal Air Force engineer who will carry the Olympic Torch as it passes through East Anglia.

Corporal Hale, originally from Worksop in Nottinghamshire, is an armourer who has seen service in the UK, the Middle East, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, and most recently in Afghanistan. He was covertly nominated for the Torch Relay by his wife, Lisa, who managed to keep the secret:

It was an enormous surprise when I received the first correspondence from the Olympic Torch Organisers,” said Corporal Hale.

I am excited to be selected to carry the Torch; it is a great honour to represent all my colleagues in the Royal Air Force and allows me to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored me over the years.

Among those representing the Royal Navy in the relay is Royal Marines Corporal Ian Ronald. Corporal Ronald suffered a brain tumour and as a result of surgery sustained serious disabilities including loss of speech, short-term loss of movement from the neck down, loss of the ability to swallow, loss of hearing in his left ear and loss of sight in his left eye.

Corporal Ronald has served with 45 Commando, the Commando Training Centre, and the Fleet Protection Group, and was on Operation HERRICK 5 in Afghanistan. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and treatment with the Royal Marines Hasler Company.

On hearing he had been selected to be a Torchbearer, Corporal Ronald said:

My rehabilitation has consumed my life for the last four years and this monumental occasion is such an honour to close this chapter of my life and move forward. It is a fantastic honour to have been chosen.

The streets along which the Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame have also been revealed today, enabling local people to plan for celebrations. An online map gives street-by-street details as the Flame travels through more than 1,000 communities announced at the end of last year.

The participation of Service personnel in the relay is just a small part of the Defence contribution to the London 2012 Olympics. See Related news for more.

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