FIVE Pendle volunteers have been chosen to carry the Olympic torch as it makes its 70-day journey around the UK.
Coun. Joe Cooney, Lucy Cowgill (23), Lizzie Stansfield (18), Jade Brindle (17) and Alice Martindale (17) were all nominated for volunteering roles and will be among 8,000 torchbearers carrying the flame across the country.
Alice will carry the flame in Accrington on June 23rd, Lucy, Lizzie and Jade will run with it through Burnley on the same day while Coun. Cooney will take the torch in St Peter’s, Kent, on July 19th.
Lizzie, of Skipton Road, Colne, is also one of 10 Olympic ambassadors and will be in London for six weeks while the games take place.
The torch has been designed in a gold honeycomb effect, and the 8,000 holes in its design are to represent each of the torchbearers. What’s more, once the flame has been passed on, each torchbearer gets to keep the torch they have carried as a souvenir.
The five found out in February they had been chosen but could not tell anybody and all will receive their white torchbearer kit and route details a month before their respective dates.
An excited Coun. Cooney, of Alkincoats Road, Colne, was nominated for his work as chairman of the North Valley Football League and as a football referee.
He nominated the four successful volunteers too and said: “It’s nice to be chosen and to be part of the Olympics. It’s more the fact we have five volunteers from Pendle, which is a relatively small area, and just shows the quality of work and the talent we have.
“Young people get a bad press and yet these give up their time for free to help as volunteers.”
Lizzie, who is studying for A-Levels at Nelson and Colne College, helps out with the ICE Club at Pendle Leisure Centre encouraging disabled children to get involved with sport.
She said: “I’m so excited now as it gets closer, it’s ages since I found out. It’s a bit of an unreal feeling to be honest.”
Alice, of Sheridan Street, Nelson, is doing a modern apprenticeship at Pendle Community High School working with disabled children and was also awarded the joint-young volunteer prize at the Pride of Nelson awards in January.
She said: “Now the day is getting closer I’m getting more excited.”
The decision to pick Alice over her brother Gareth (21), who was also nominated, has caused a bit of sibling rivalry in the Martindale household.
Her mum Jane said: “I think we’re more excited than she is! The whole family are proud of her, she’s not your average 17-year-old.
“Her brother Gareth was gutted when he found out Alice had been chosen ahead of him. She keeps winding him up about it.”
Lucy, of Burwain Fold, Colne, runs the volunteer programme at Pendle Leisure Centre and said: “I was well impressed when I heard. It’s a big thing carrying the Olympic flame, I can’t wait.”
Jade, of Birtwistle Avenue, Colne, helps out with football training when not doing her BTEC in sport at Nelson and Colne College.
She added: “It’s a great feeling. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of it. When I told my mum she was excited and wanted to tell everybody.”
For further information on the torchbearers and the Olympic torch route, visit www.london2012.com/olympic-torch-relay