Published: May 19, 2012
Mayor visits Burnham's Olympic torch bearers ahead of their big day

Burnham-On-Sea's Mayor has wished the town's Olympic torch bearers well during a special training session held on the town's beach.

Burnham's torch bearers Arthur Gilbert, Jason Vickers, Tony Deahl, Katrina Doyle and Sarah Milner Simonds were visited by Mayor Ken Smout during a unique training session on Friday evening (May 18th).

Ken told "In this year of community spirit, when we will be celebrating the Queen's Jubilee and Olympics, I am proud that we have residents from Burnham representing us in the torch relay. This is a such a high-profile event of international importance and I wish them all a lot of luck for the big day."

Sara Cox-Conklin from Burnham's Swim and Sports Academy led the 'torch bearer training' when a 300-metre long area of Burnham seafront, identical to the length of road the torch bearers will be running, was set up to help them pace themselves during the two minute run.

"This is one occasion you don't want to rush - the torch bearers want to savour every monent of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so this session helped them to pace themselves during their two minutes with the Olympic torch to enure they maximise their enjoyment and boost their confidence," Sara told

91 year-old Arthur Gilbert, who was recently named the world’s oldest triathlete and was awarded an MBE for his charity work in 2008, will be running with the Olympic torch through Minehead at 4.28pm on Monday.

And Burnham's Katrina Doyle, 13, who bravely overcame leukaemia as a child and has gone on to raise thousands of pounds for cancer charity CLIC Sargent, will be running through Dunster at 4.40pm.

Tony Deahl, who is Chairman of Burnham Hospital's League of Friends and a volunteer at Burnham lifeboat station, will be running with the torch at 10.55am through Wells on Tuesday.

Jason Vickers, who is well-known in Burnham for running marathons in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and has raised over £11,000, will be taking part in the torch relay on Tuesday at 10.08am in Glastonbury.

Burnham's Sarah Milner Simonds, who is Horticultural Programme Manager at Bridgwater College and was nominated for her inspirational work as a community gardener in high-density social housing areas, will be running with the flame through Dunster at 4.38pm on Monday.

Sarah said: "The honour of carrying the flame in the medieval village of Dunster is almost overwhelming. To think that the flame has come all the way from Athens and will ignite the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium on 27th July at the start of The Games is incredible. I am determined to do Somerset proud on the day and try really hard not to drop the torch in my excitement!"

Jason told "It's a great honour to have been picked and I'm really looking forward to taking part - it will be an exciting day!"

Arthur added: "I am really thrilled to have been picked - I was so pleased to receive the official email confirming that I will be taking part. It will be such a memorable day and I hope lots of people will come out along the route."

Tony said: "It's a great honour to be chosen and I will be taking part on behalf of all those people in Burnham and Highbridge who do charity work in our local community."

Katrina, who was a Burnham and Highbridge Carnival Princess in 2010, said: "I am really excited to be taking part - it's such an honour to be chosen."

The Olympic Flame arrived from Greece on Friday evening (18th May) and an 8,000 mile Torch Relay leaves Land’s End on Saturday before travelling across the whole UK in 70 days.

Hopes that the Olympic Flame would come through Burnham-On-Sea or Highbridge were dashed last year with the unveiling of the route, as we reported here.

Having made its way up through Cornwall and Devon, the Olympic flame will be carried by an average of 115 torchbearers each day and the final torchbearer will carry the Flame into the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on 27th July when the cauldron will be lit, and the London 2012 Games will be opened. The full route is shown here.

Pictured: The 'torch bearer training' taking place on Burnham seafront on Friday night


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