Nottinghamshire’s inspiring Torch Bearers
With only three sleeps to go until the Olympic Torch arrives in Nottinghamshire, we caught up with three of the inspirational Torch Bearers who will be running with the Torch in our great county.
John Dabell’s Olympic Torch will light Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean’s Torch just before they take to the ice on 28th June at the National Ice Centre.
Hi John, tell us a little bit about yourself…
I am 43 years of age and live in Wollaton with my wife Wendy and daughter Maisy, aged 5 years. I was born in Nottingham and my first home was a stone’s throw from Trent Bridge which probably explains why I have been a lifelong supporter of Nottingham Forest!
I spent 15 years as a primary school teacher working in London, Derby and Nottingham and I trained as an Ofsted inspector too. My last teaching post was three years ago in Forest Fields which came to an abrupt and unexpected end after I developed head and neck cancer. A tumour was found growing in my tongue. A life-saving operation led by Mr Iain McVicar and his team followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy under the care of Dr Matt Griffin means I have been cancer-free since. I now work for Nottinghamshire Police in the Criminal Records Bureau.
How do you feel about lighting Torvill & Dean’s Olympic Torch in the ice gala at the National Ice Centre?
To be a Torchbearer is special but to light their torch is extra special indeed! I was incredibly thrilled when I found out and I still am. I’m excited now so what I’ll be like on the day I don’t know! I’ll be that excited, I’ll probably be the first levitating Torchbearer! Torvill and Dean are the epitome of perfection so it is a double-honour to participate in such a unique occasion with two great Olympians. Three years ago, my own flame was nearly extinguished by a cruel and horrible disease. Now, I am going to be lighting their torch in front of over 6,000 people. I never expected to be doing that!
Chloe Jones is a student at Nottingham Trent University. Following a serious accident in which she tragically lost her leg, Chloe came back to University, finished her course and went on to do an MA. Not letting her injury limit her success, Chloe has inspirationally gone on to win the title ‘Miss Nottingham – Charity’, create a clothing collection tailored for people with missing limbs and conduct research into the treatment of those with a missing limb.
Only 8,000 people in the entire country have been given the opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame across the UK, how did you feel when you were told you had been chosen?
When I was asked to carry the Olympic torch I went into shock, never had I thought that an opportunity like this would happen to me. It was a really nice feeling though to have been chosen and made the struggle of the last few years worth it, and it’s nice to know that people around you know that you’re trying your best.
Studying fashion and working towards launching your own clothing range, what do you think of the Olympic torchbearer uniform?
I really like the uniform that has been designed for 2012 as it isn’t too bright or garish like it has been previously. It’s just clean and smart looking, which is what you want you want attention to be on the torch and the bearers not the uniform.
If you could choose anywhere in Nottinghamshire to take the torch, where would you go with it?
If I could take the torch anywhere it would either be Nottingham Castle or Nottingham’s Old Market Square, as these are iconic places in Nottingham and places that have a lot of history.
Emma Vickers also studies at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and is ranked fifth in table tennis in England. She recently won two gold medals at the British Universities Sport National Championships and has just won the under 21s national title for the third time. Emma has also created a table tennis team at NTU to inspire others to take up the sport.
Later this week you’ll become one of the select few in the entire country to be given the opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame, how did you react when you were first told?
I was genuinely very surprised to be asked, the Vice Chancellor had asked to meet me and I had no idea what the meeting was going to be about, it was a great surprise and I feel very honoured to be representing NTU.
You’ve created a table tennis team at NTU, how does it feel to be inspiring new people to take up the sport?
It’s great that I had the opportunity to start the team at NTU. It is a great sport for so many people to become involved in, a number of other international players have now also come to NTU so it’s great to see such a high standard of players wanting to represent the university.
You’re originally from Derby, but having studied in Nottingham where is your favourite spot in Nottinghamshire to visit?
My favourite spot to visit in Nottingham is the City Centre, there are some great shopping centres and restaurants to visit and I like to spend my free time here.
Having just finished your second year at NTU, what are your plans for the future?
I am hoping to go on and study a Masters possibly at NTU and to continue representing England at table tennis.
Find out more about the Olympic Torch Relay in Nottinghamshire here: http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/2012-olympics/olympic-torch-relay