A TOTAL of 131 torchbearers will carry the Olympic flame on its journey from Portsmouth to Brighton today (Monday, July 16).
Famous sporting stars, including Sally Gunnell and Robin Cousins, will join local community heroes to take the torch across Sussex.
The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will travel 94.70 miles through 19 communities on its journey.
The flame will be carried through the following communities: Portsmouth, Petersfield, Rogate, Midhurst, Easebourne, Tillington, Petworth, Duncton, Chichester, North Bersted, South Bertsted, Bognor Regis, Woodgate, Westergate, Arundel, Worthing, Lancing, West Blatchington and Brighton and Hove.
Just before 4pm, the procession will arrive at Arundel Castle where Jason Saw, 42, from Brighton will carry the Flame into the grounds of Arundel Castle. Jason was nominated through the Lloyds TSB campaign for his leadership of a project called MINDOUT which aims to tackle mental illness in the Brighton Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans community.
Then at 6.50pm, at the Sussex County Cricket Club in Hove, the last torchbearer of the day, Karen West, 60, from Worthing, will carry the flame on to the evening celebration stage.
Karen was nominated through the LOCOG campaign for her outstanding work as a nursing sister at Goring Hall Hospital. She is patients’ guardian angel through their fight with cancer and is there 24/7. Our cancer journey would be far harder without that phone number we can always ring, she is a true inspiration with all her patients.
Other highlights include:
- Christopher Lynch, 57, from Littlehampton, nominated through the Lloyds TSB public nomination campaign has been a policeman in London for thirty years, and now works for the Sussex Resilience Forum to make Sussex a safer place. Christopher, who is carrying the Flame in South Bersted, has converted an old London bus into a community centre with the help of many people including prisoners from Ford Open Prison, and takes it to young people in the area.
- Samuel Kirwan, 21, from Burgess Hill and carrying the Flame in Westergate. Sam, who was nominated through the LOCOG campaign, is an inspirational young person. Twice a year he gives his time and his money to take both the terminally ill and young people with life limiting diseases on pilgrimage to Lourdes. He provides them with 24/7 personal care and support, giving these deserving people a chance to have a once in lifetime experience, and bring them some joy before the worst happens. Sam is heavily involved in the local cricket team, he plays twice a week and also coaches the younger teams. Sam gave a great deal of time to a ‘street cricket’ scheme, where he and his fellow team-mates gave local children the opportunity to get involved in a sport that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. At university Sam captains the hurling and cricket teams, and is a student ambassador for incoming students giving up his time to welcome and advise new students.
- Sally Biggs (nee Gunnell), will carry the Flame in Bognor Regis. Sally is one of the most popular British female athletes, and her gold medal winning performance in the 400m Hurdles at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games is an iconic moment in British sporting history. She is the only women to date to concurrently hold all four major championship medals – Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European, a feat she completed in 1992 along with the addition of a World Record time. Since retiring from athletics, Sally has put to good use her wealth and experience of knowledge to help inspire upcoming athletes and encourage families to get healthy across a variety of programmes.