Jack's Olympic Torch Experience - 02/06/2012Hello ...
I was one of the Torch Bearers (054) running between Cumberland Road and Hampton Road and it was a truly magnificent, lump-in-the-throat experience for me at least. It was so heart-warming to see so many people in such celebratory mood although it must have passed off too quickly if you were a bystander. My particular moment to shine certainly went off in a flash - not that I was running that fast I should add!
I was initially intending to do a fast walk to save the occasion passing by too quickly but the organisers told me the crowd tend to cheer more for a person running rather than walking so I ran! And indeed, it was over in a flash but I still had a great day.
I ran 340m non stop and never felt puffed! Would you believe, two people never showed so one young girl ran three legs totalling 1000 metres! Glad they never asked me, although with all that adrenaline flowing I probably could have done it!
Once I had completed my leg, I hopped on the bus that collected up all the other runners who had just done their stint and followed the next Torch Bearer. The shouts, cheers and waves from the crowds lining the streets really made the occasion special.
One thing I must mention is the brilliant organisation by the staff of King George V College. They were so genuinely helpful when I called in the week before (I am not from Southport) and they allayed many of my fears about parking and changing into my white suit. The official brochure I received a couple of weeks earlier had told me I would NOT be able to park at the meeting point (KGV) and that I MUST arrive wearing my suit! Imagine then, my having to possibly change a flat tyre at 6.30am on the way to the college in my white suit by the roadside!
When I was returned to KGV by bus along with the other Torch Bearers after our respective legs, I was carrying the Torch I had purchased (£215 on the day) through the college grounds to my car at exactly the time the students were dispersing for their long Jubilee week-end break. I had promised to meet a dozen family and friends at the Richmond Hotel just down the road at noon (mainly to pay the bill!) but I was accosted in the nicest possible sense by students and staff alike for a photo opportunity. I was there for an hour and ten minutes lending them the Torch for their own individual shots plus some with yours truly. I like to think I am a humble, modest person but I felt a real celebrity yesterday only through everyone being so warm and welcoming.
A truly wonderful experience.
I'm taking the torch into St John's Hospice, Wirral next Thursday to have another photo shoot with some of the patients and staff.
Thank You Southport - you really made this day one of the most memorable of my life.