Saffron Walden: Paralympic torchbearer says carrying the flame was “an amazing experience”

A TIRELESS volunteer has spoken of her delight of being a part of the Paralympic torch relay.

Geraldine Cowell, of Elmdon, Essex, carried the torch as part of a five-man team through Lea Valley last Wednesday (August 29) as it made its way from Stoke Manderville – the birthplace of the Paralympic movement – to the Olympic Park in London.

The 24-year-old, who was nominated by her mum for the honour, said it was a “surreal experience”.

“We ran with the torch in the dark so it looked beautiful with the torch. Sainsbury’s was an amazing sponsor – it was 24 hours of fun,” she said.

“[Sainsbury’s] picked me and the team up on Tuesday and put us up in a hotel for a night so I got to meet other torchbearers and hear all their stories.

“On Wednesday we did photos and interviews for Sainsbury’s before running with the torch, which was two hours behind schedule. Despite it being late, lots of people stayed to see the torch – it was amazing.”

Miss Cowell was nominated for her tireless fundraising and volunteer work. She is the youngest district commissioner for the Girl Guiding movement in the district, a volunteer for sight charity Support 4 Sight, an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and an Essex Ambassador for London 2012.

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She added that the Paralympics were an inspiration for disabled and able bodied athletes having been to the Olympic Park twice this week.

“I saw the Equestrian twice this week, including the gold medal ceremony for the team event,” she said.

“The Paralympics being in London has been brilliant because the UK is very good with disabled rights and making sure people are not separated. It has been the biggest selling Paralympics since 1948 and it is doing a great job of inspiring everyone to get involved with sport.”