Olympic torch: Boy continues after fall with torch

Kieran Maxwell carries the torch in Bishop Auckland as crowds cheer him on

A boy who has had cancer was given huge support after continuing his relay stint despite falling with the torch.

Kieran Maxwell, 13, fell over but was quickly helped up by the torch security team and smiled as he carried on through Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

The teenager, from Newton Aycliffe, underwent chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma in 2010 and lost part of his left leg.

The flame is being carried 84-miles between Durham and Middlesbrough.

Kieran, from the village of Heighington, completed his chemotherapy in October 2011 and is now in remission.

However, due to the damage to the bone and tissue caused by the cancer, he lost his left tibia and had his left leg amputated below the knee.

He now has a prosthetic leg and uses a wheelchair for most of the time.

As he walked with the flame along Newgate Street he stumbled to the ground and dropped the torch, but was helped up by the officers who then helped him carry it the rest of the way.

Huge crowds gathered in Bishop Auckland cheering on the torchbearers and holding banners of support.

Day 30 of the Olympic torch relay was started in Durham by cricketer Paul Collingwood who pulled out a drive shot as he set off from the cathedral.

Cricketer Paul Collingwood Cricketer Paul Collingwood got the relay under way with a drive shot

The three times Ashes winner started out at Palace Green, part of a Unesco World Heritage Site which includes Durham Cathedral and castle.

He said: "It's great to have my hands on the Olympic torch."

The 84-mile journey from Durham to Middlesbrough takes in County Durham and Teesside's industrial heartland.

Before setting off Collingwood, who made 68 Test and 232 limited over appearances for his country, said: "I am like a kid at Christmas."

But he had to take extra care while carrying the torch due to a hand fracture.

"It's not ideal timing to break a bone in my right hand as I was going to carry it in that hand," he said.

Feeling privileged at being chosen for the role he said: "It's going to be a great day, everyone has smiles on their faces - I certainly have a smile on mine.

"It really is a dream."

Collingwood was the first England captain to lead his side to victory in a global tournament - winning the World International Twenty20 in 2010.

The Dean of Durham the Very Rev Michael Sadgrove said: "It was very moving to see the torch lit outside the cathedral."

Also among the day's 124 torch bearers was Jamie Poole, 24, from Stockton-on-Tees, who carried the flame into the Maritime Experience in Hartlepool.

The school football coach was nominated after helping to to care for a friend who was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

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Larry Smith, 85, who was a marshal at the 1948 London Games, was the oldest torchbearer of the day.

He carried the flame through Blackhall Colliery to huge cheers and people carrying "Go Larry" banners.

Mr Smith visits the gym every day to help control his diabetes as well as helping others deal with the condition.

The relay travelled through the communities of Durham, Sherburn, Sherburn Hill, Haswell Plough, Peterlee, Horden, Blackhall Colliery, Hartlepool, Billingham, Sedgefield, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Middridge, Newton Aycliffe, High Beaumont Hill, Harrogate Hill, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough.

At an evening celebration in Centre Square, Middlesbrough, crowds were entertained with music from Little Comets and dance act Twist and Pulse.

Towards the end of the two-hour show the last torchbearer of the day, Chloe Meehan, 17, lit a celebration cauldron on stage.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.

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