Published: August 24, 2011
Three Burnham residents nominated to be Olympic torch bearers

Three well-known residents in Burnham-On-Sea have this week been officially nominated to become Olympic Torch Bearers and carry the symbolic flame through the area next year.

Burnham's 90 year-old triathlon runner Arthur Gilbert, charity runner Jason Vickers and Burnham Swim and Sports Academy's manager Sara Cox-Conklin are among 28,000 people across the UK to have been formally nominated.

The Olympic Flame will arrive from Greece on 18th May 2012 and am 8,000 mile Torch Relay will begin at Land’s End on 19th May before travelling across the whole UK in 70 days.

Details of the route are still being finalised, but it will visit Taunton on 21st May and Bristol on 22nd May. There are high hopes that the torch will also travel through Highbridge, along the A38 on its way to Bristol, when the three local torch bearers could take part.

"The nominees have all received letters over the past week informing them that they have been put forward by members of the public. Their names will now be put forward to one of the 12 regional judging panels being held around the UK," a London 2012 spokeswoman told

"The panels will select the most inspiring people to be one of the 8,000 torchbearers needed for the Olympic Torch Relay."

The final torchbearer will carry the Flame into the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on 27th July 2012 when the cauldron will be lit, and the Games of the XXX Olympiad will be opened. reported here in April how Arthur Gilbert had completed his latest Burnham triathlon - comprising a 250m swim, followed by a 10km bike ride and a 2.5km run - in a time of one hour, 20 minutes and nine seconds.

Arthur told this week he was delighted to have been nominated. "I'm very excited about the prospect of carrying the Olympic torch - it would be an incredible experience. It would be lovely if all three Burnham nominees could take part."

Jason Vickers, who has suffered from Crohn's Disease for the past 17 years and who works at Burnham's Tesco supermarket, has raised over £8,000 for Multiple Sclerosis Society by running a series of marathons.

He told "It's a wonderful honour to have been nominated and I thank everyone who put my name forward. I just hope that the judges will pick me later in the year."

Sara Cox-Conklin, who runs Burnham's Swim and Sports Academy with husband Mark (pictured), has represented Great Britain in 11 World Championships ranging from Modern Pentathlon (National Champion) to Triathlon (World Amateur Champion) to cross-country skiing (7th in World Masters) and was also a National Biathlon Champion. She turned professional and went on to win an amazing 23 races around the world.

Sara told this week: "It's a huge honour to be nominated to be an Olympic torch bearer. It would be an amazing experience."

The successful nominees who pass the regional judging will be given a conditional offer this December, with Torchbearer places confirmed in February 2012. The nominees will have around a one in 14 chance of being a Torchbearer.

Pictured: Top, the London 2012 Chairman Lord Sebastian Coe unveiling the new Olympic Torch earlier this year, and, Burnham's Arthur Gilbert, Jason Vickers and Sara Cox-Conklin with her husband Mark


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