Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Leeds Olympic Torchbearers’ to be honoured at celebration event

The group of people who will carry the Olympic Torch through Leeds later this month will be honoured at a special event next week.

The 55 people of all ages who will enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of carrying the iconic flame through the city will be guests at a celebration event to be held at Leeds Town Hall on Tuesday 12 June.

Media opportunity:
When: Tuesday 12 June at 4.45pm
Where: Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow
Members of the media are invited to photograph and interview torch bearers and staff, at the celebration event.


The group will shortly be enjoying their moment in the limelight as the legendary symbol of the world’s greatest sporting event travels through Leeds on Tuesday 19 June, Sunday 24 June and Monday 25 June as part of its nationwide tour leading up to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Friday 27 July.

Among those carrying the torch will be the two official nominations made by the city of Leeds – Steven Tomlinson and Aidan Dixon. Fourteen-year-old Steven is the son of the inspirational Jane Tomlinson CBE, who lost her battle with cancer in 2007 but whose legacy continues through the Jane Tomlinson Appeal which has now raised over £4million for children’s and cancer charities. Steven will be following in his mother’s footsteps as Jane carried the Olympic Torch herself ahead of the 2004 Games in Athens.

Aidan Dixon was nominated after turning a troubled early life around. From volunteering as a senior member of Windmill Youth Club in Rothwell, the 18-year-old from Oulton has gone on to secure a job as a behaviour support worker at his old school Royds. There he excels in inspiring young people in similar circumstances to his own to make positive changes in their lives.

Aidan Dixon said:
“I am really excited and proud to be given this opportunity. Carrying the Olympic Torch is a real honour and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I feel that I have done well and achieved a lot in the past few years, and it makes me feel great that this is being recognised. I hope it helps other young people who may be having problems to realise that they can turn their lives around and achieve their goals.”

Leeds is the only city outside London to host the Olympic Torch on three separate days, being carried by torchbearers for a total distance of approximately 17 miles. It first arrives on the morning of Tuesday 19 June when it comes through Boston Spa, Wetherby and Harewood before a lunchtime event at Harewood House.

It then leaves the city before returning late in the afternoon on Sunday 24 June travelling through Headingley, Potternewton, Harehills and Richmond Hill.

Along the way it will stop off for a quick tour of the world-famous Headingley Carnegie Stadium and cricket ground, and its day will end by making a starring entrance at the major overnight celebration event to be held at Temple Newsam Estate organised by Coca-Cola, a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and Leeds City Council.

Early the next morning (Monday 25 June) the flame’s journey resumes from the most famous building in the city, the Cuthbert Brodrick-designed Leeds Town Hall, and travels through the city centre taking in The Headrow, Millennium Square, Briggate and County Arcade before heading to the Royal Armouries.

It will also pass over the historic Leeds Bridge, where the world’s first-ever moving image was filmed by Louis Le Prince in 1888, before heading to Hunslet, stopping off at the John Charles Centre for Sport for a lap of the running track. It then passes through Beeston and Leeds United’s Elland Road home before heading through Morley and out of the city.

Local communities along the route are being encouraged to host their own celebration events to mark the flame passing, while thousands of Leeds schoolchildren will also be celebrating the torch on its journey through the city. Any group wishing to host or get involved in any celebrations along the route can contact Jon.price@leeds.gov.uk for more information.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:
“Watching the news and seeing the Olympic Torch getting closer to us every day is really exciting. It is getting really close now and for all of the Leeds torchbearers it must be an amazing feeling knowing they are going to be part of something so special.

“It would be fantastic to see communities lining the streets and for the whole city to get involved and celebrate the torch coming through our city in real style.”

The Olympic Torch Relay is being managed by The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) along with Presenting Partners Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Over 200 schools in Leeds have already engaged in the Olympics project ‘Spirit Alive’, which gives pupils the chance to lead, manage and deliver a mini-Olympic experience in their schools.

For more information on Leeds and its work towards the London 2012 Olympic Games, visit www.leedsgold.co.uk

Notes to editors:

As the longest standing Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will be using its heritage and experience to spread excitement across the UK ahead of London 2012. Coca-Cola's national nomination campaign - Future Flames – has focused on finding inspirational young people from across the country to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. This summer Coca-Cola will celebrate these Future Flames: young people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and community and the environment; to spread happiness in their local communities. Find out more at: www.coca-cola.co.uk/olympic-games

As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB will be taking the spirit and inspiration of the Olympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK. As part of Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland will be the National Presenting Partner in Scotland. Schools can be right at the heart of the celebrations through our Flame Followers programme, giving them access to free resources to get their pupils inspired and excited about the Olympic Torch Relay (schools can register at www.lloydstsb.com/flamefollowers). Customers can be the first to hear how they can follow the Olympic Flame, through our customer-exclusive programme Trackside. Find out more at www.lloydstsb.com/london2012

As a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Samsung aims to encourage everyone to be part of the London 2012 Torch Relay to make London 2012 ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games.’ We aspire to offer new and memorable experiences for everyone around the world. Samsung is providing 1,360 Torchbearers, who have “gone the extra mile” by contributing to the local communities, through its worldwide public nomination campaign. Samsung will support towns and cities to celebrate the exciting moment of the Torch Relay and help showcase Great Britain’s cultural landmarks to provide a more enjoyable experience to everyone. The evening celebrations that will be staged in 66 towns and cities throughout the Olympic Flame’s journey across the UK, will allow Samsung to entertain the community they are visiting. The Samsung caravan, complete with LED screen on the side showcasing runners and goodwill messages, will travel with Torchbearers around the UK cheering up everyone to celebrate the Torch Relay with music and interaction with local communities. It is Samsung’s ambition that London 2012 will be an event that reaches and involves more people than on any other Olympic Games occasion. To learn more about Samsung’s London 2012 Olympic programme, please visit www.samsung.com/london2012.


ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk