Olympic Torch-bearer in Chester, mountaineer, intrepid fundraiser, ambassador for the Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust, aged 17, previously youngest solo 3 Peaks Challenge Record Holder, climbed Mt Blanc (4810m) in an Orang-utan costume on the 26th July 2012 and raised £5700 for Cancer Research UK & REACT. Sponsored by the Mountain Boot Company and Powertraveller.
Please donate at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/montblanc2012. Live the dream!
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Loving life as a torchbearer, fame and so much more. And it can only get better.
Form an orderly queue for autographs please! Only joking, I'll be modest, but I must say I've been blown away by the past 2 weeks. Basking in the 'fame'.
Well, firstly I was invited to the BBC studios in Manchester to be interviewed by the one and only BBC NW tonight presenter for the BBC School Report. At first I was told it was a radio interview, but then I realised I would be sat on the BBC NW tonight sofa, in front of a camera with thousands of people watching me. Oh jolly good, I thought. I went with my school, as 10 pupils in lower years also took part in the school report. I was awestruck by the BBC studios, what an amazing place. Got a tour of BBC Sport. We were treated like royalty despite what must have been a chaotic day for them. It was a 5.30am start, got there for 7.30 ish. I was dreading it, you see, I've suffered with a speech problem for most of my life, making me very nervous at speaking but generally with crap 'people skills'. As we were led into the studio and I met Roger (nice bloke) I was shaking with nerves. But fascinated by how the programme was organised. Met Matthew, a pleasant young torchbearer from Bury who was being interviewed at the same time as me. He was only 12, and I'm 6"3 so I towered over him. It was all very frantic, then there was a countdown, until 3.. 2...1 You're on air. Sadly the interview was delayed and therefore very rushed and brief so I couldn't mention my Mont Blanc project at all and barely answered the other questions in detail, but I was nervous too. Still, very pleased I did it. Hit your fears head on!
Then I met ex-footballer and Strictly Come Dancing star Robbie Savage and approached him before he got dragged off by the ear for an interview. I told him what I was doing and asked if he'd be willing to donate something to my charity auction for my charity night (which has now been booked for the 29th June by the way, more details to follow). He was rushed too but I left my number and email with him, he sort of nodded.... let's hope I get something from him. Got a picture with him too which I'll post here when the BBC decide to email it to me. I was then shown briefly on BBC Northwest Tonight on that evening!
But that week could only get better. The day after, I got an email from BBC Radio Merseyside asking to interview me about the honour of carrying the Olympic torch. So I eagerly emailed back and the nerves hit me again, but I can do this, I thought. On the same day, I got my official Olympic Torchbearer confirmation AT LAST! I'll definitely be running with the torch in Chester, on the 29th May in the evening sometime. The exact location and time is yet to be confirmed. I was absolutely buzzing by the end of that week.
On Tuesday, I received an email saying that Coca-Cola are going to purchase all of the Coca-Cola torchbearers an Olympic Torch. Brilliant news. Saved me £200 anyway. This means I'll definitely get to keep my torch afterwards, use it at public events (including my charity fundraising night) and I've already been asked to go to my local primary school and Brownies group to talk to them about the torch, and let them hold the real one. It shall be treasured. We've also been given the chance to buy official torchbearer merchandise that only we can buy!
This morning I was met by a BBC reporter and interviewed at school for the Tony Snell Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Merseyside. I wasn't as nervous knowing that I wouldn't have to see my ugly mug on a TV screen but still, I was determined to mention a lot more this time. The interview went pretty well I'd say, I mentioned Mont Blanc and the 3 Peaks as well as obviously describing what it's like to be a torchbearer. Really enjoyed the experience, definitely better than Geography anyway... Now I've realised that I forgot to mention a few bits like Kilimanjaro or this blog but ah well, can never be perfect. Wasn't sure how it sounded but was kindly reassured that it was great. So at 7:25am tomorrow, I will be hearing the edited interview. Look forward nervously to hearing it. Hope it sounds okay. It's on iPlayer if you miss it.
Going to a torchbearer photoshoot on Monday, so even more fame to come! And the Chester Chronicle are keen to profile me again, along with the torchbearer I've discovered that lives down my road! What's the chances of that?! 8000 torchbearers, 2 on one road... Will get some pics of myself with the torch and styling the new outfit for the blog.
Loving the fame so far, it's been crazy, I've been rushed off my feet. I'm going to struggle a bit for the next few months, with A-levels, Mont Blanc, the torch, running, races, work/general chores... but I wouldn't have it any other way. It will all pay off in the end, even if 12am-1am bedtimes are necessary. Progress is slow at the moment, lots of letters to go out. SO MUCH work to do.
But if I can keep living my dream, inspiring others, influencing people to go for their goals, enjoying myself and raising money for amazing charities then I'm happy. So much more to come, maybe some more records to be broken. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. What an awesome year this will unfold to be.
Oh and my charity night has been booked for the 29th June, more to follow.
I've now nearly got to the £300 mark on my Virgin Money Giving page, which is great. I want to thank the following people for their generous sponsorship so far, Steve Richards, Rob Tudor, Chris Spray, celebrity rock climber Ben Heason, Andrew Bell, Chris Pownell and Jayne Cooper for their kind contributions, I really appreciate them. Unfortunately the radio interview didn't bring any more in but ah well. Still pleased. Not even a 10th of the way there yet though, so keep it coming please folks! :-)