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Torchbearers enjoy brushes with flame
9:30am Thursday 24th May 2012 in News
THE Olympic Torch does not arrive in Oxford until July, but that has not stopped Oxfordshire residents from proudly carrying the sporting symbol.
Yesterday the Olympic flame passed through Gloucestershire and Wiltshire as part of its national journey, and four of the torchbearers were from the Oxfordshire area.
Among them were Chelsea footballer Josh McEachran, 19, who carried the torch through Calne, in Wiltshire.
The Kirtlington lad, who could play in the Olympic football tournament, said: “It has been a really good day and there’s a great atmosphere.”
The midfielder – who carried the torch on the same day as his Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba – attended the Marlborough School in Woodstock.
He said: “I wasn’t too worried about dropping the torch.”
Rugby and athletics fan Sam Way, 13, was nominated by godfather James Eadie.
The pupil of The Dragon School in Oxford said: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it has been amazing.”
He said organisers dropped each torchbearer off in a bus to await their moment of fame.
Sam, of Church Westcote, said: “I was really, really nervous.
“It was a huge deal, there was so much adrenaline with people screaming and waving flags.
“Once I got it, it was great, people were cheering me on.”
The youngster, who plays in the school rugby and athletics team, said: “I would love to do sport professionally.
“It would be amazing to be in the Olympics.”
His mother Georgina said: “I felt close to tears. The atmosphere was unbelievable.”
Also taking part were Oxford’s Mike Phillips, 38, in Cheltenham, Abingdon’s Gareth Williams, 40, in Swindon, and Coleshill’s Becci Berry, 39, also in Swindon.
The mum-of-two has raised cash for cancer charities after both her younger brother Ben, 29, and her husband Rich, 34, died of the disease.
She and her family and friends have now raised more than £40,000 for research into Leukaemia.
Mr Williams, 40, a father-of-three has worked hard to raise cash for his community’s benefit.
The Olympic Flame left Land’s End on Saturday and will arrive in London on July 26. Some 8,000 people will carry the torch.
On Monday, July 9, the torch will pass through Woodstock, Kidlington and Oxford.
A free concert headlined by Young Guns will take place in South Park that evening. The torch will leave the city for Abingdon the next day and head on to Wallingford.
The torch’s final destination is the Olympic Stadium.