England

London 2012: England torchbearers chosen

The list of torchbearers confirmed by Locog for the 2012 torch relay is filled with tales of dedication, courage and selflessness.

Locog has revealed the names of the majority of the people from England who will carry the Olympic torch during its 70-day journey around the UK.

The Olympic flame will arrive in the UK on 18 May and be carried by 8,000 people before arriving at the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony.

The torchbearer scheme aims to recognise and reward people with a story of personal achievement or those who have contributed to their community.

The torch will be carried by 7,300 people who were nominated and the remaining 700 will be athletes and celebrities.

BBC teams across England have been speaking to some of those chosen to take part:

Ian Ronald - County Durham

Royal Marine Ian Ronald was told he would never walk or talk again.

He discovered he had a brain tumour in 2008 and underwent 12 hours of surgery.

From the surgery he sustained loss of speech, short-term loss of movement from the neck down, loss of hearing and sight on his left side, facial paralysis, loss of sensation and co-ordination problems.

But he was determined to return to full health and after years in rehabilitation he completed two Great North Runs and took up rowing - even taking part in the European Indoor Championships.

He said: "I've always been a firm believer that feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere and that life goes on.

"My rehabilitation has consumed my life for the last four years and this monumental occasion is such an honour to close this chapter of my life with and move forward."

Diana Gould - Kenton, north-west London

Great-grandmother Diana Gould will be 100 when she carries the Olympic torch in London.

Mrs Gould was born in Lodz in Poland and came to London as an infant. She grew up in the East End and moved to Stoke Newington with her husband Ted before World War II, before settling in Hendon in 1960.

The former seamstress has always been active, playing netball as a child and table tennis and badminton until the age of 86. She will turn 100 on 23 May.

She organises exercise classes for the other elderly people who live in the same block of flats as her.

She said the 2012 Olympics was an inspiration for people of all ages to "keep active".

Her message to her contemporaries is: "It's up to each person to make sure they keep themselves active - in mind and body. Don't think old, just get on with it."

Bernie Buxton - Liverpool

Liverpool taxi driver Bernie Buxton was nominated to carry the torch for his charity work for the Liverpool Taxi Drivers Children in Care Outing Fund.

He said he was in training but had not decided yet whether he would run, hop or skip his part of the route through Liverpool.

He said: "Never in a million years did I think I'd be involved in the Olympics. I'm not a sporty person but when I found out I was carrying the Olympic flame I was over the moon.

"I'm very grateful for the people who nominated me and it shows me that we are doing something right."

Zakia Begum - Walsall, West Midlands

When Zakia Begum found out she had been chosen to carry the torch she said she was so happy she cried.

The 21-year-old has a form of muscular dystrophy and is a wheelchair user.

She has recently starred in a short film about disability awareness and helped develop a disability awareness campaign.

She said: "I was thinking 'I hope I'm not dreaming'. I'm really, really looking forward to it."

Steven Tomlinson - West Yorkshire

The son of fundraiser Jane Tomlinson has been chosen to be a torchbearer in West Yorkshire.

He said he would carry the flame on behalf of his late mother.

Mrs Tomlinson, who died from cancer in 2007 at the age of 43, carried the torch ahead of the 2004 Games in Athens.

Steven Tomlinson, 14, said: "It's a great opportunity to be part of the Olympics. It should be a great experience."

Mrs Tomlinson raised almost £2m for charity through a series of challenges as she fought her illness.

Her family have carried on raising cash for her charity, the Jane Tomlinson Appeal, since her death.

In 2007 the Jane Tomlinson 10km run was launched in Leeds.

Thousands of people have taken part, including marathon runner Paula Radcliffe.

Megan Arnold - West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire

One of the torchbearers selected to carry the flame through Leicestershire is 16-year-old Megan Arnold.

Megan, who coaches free basketball sessions for children in Nottinghamshire, will carry the torch through Wymeswold, Leicestershire.

In the future Megan says she hopes to play basketball for the national team and work with disabled children to help them achieve their sporting potential.

She was nominated by her friend Isaac Mills.

She said: "It means a great deal to me to be involved in the Olympic torch relay and I have already met loads of amazing people.

"It is absolutely amazing to be part of the Olympic legacy and it will make a great story to tell when I'm older."

Malcolm Styles - Reigate, Surrey

The UK's oldest full-time firefighter, 63-year-old Malcolm Styles, will be among the torchbearers in Surrey.

Mr Styles, who has been a firefighter for 34 years and will be on call through much of the Olympics, said his selection was a surprise.

"I feel very proud," he said.

"It's a real honour and I'm looking forward to carrying the torch for the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service."

Mr Styles, who is based in his home town of Reigate, has raised £40,000 for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity since his wife of 26 years, Anne Marie, 47, died of the illness in 1997.

His fundraising feats included a coast-to-coast mountain bike ride and he has also won a gold medal at the World Firefighter Games.

Chris Baker - Ivybridge, Devon

Fundraiser Chris Baker was nominated for his fundraising efforts for various charities.

The 14-year-old has raised more than £1,300 for a number of charities since the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of 2004 prompted him to sell cakes to raise money for the victims.

Since then he has organised sponsored bike rides, coffee mornings, a Come Dine with Me-style event and more cake sales.

Charities which have benefited include: the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, the Salvation Army, Children in Need, RNLI, Shelter and St Luke's Hospice in Plymouth.

He said: "I am not sure why I do it, but it's always been a natural thing that I've wanted to do. Pleasing me pleases other people as well."

He said he was "really chuffed" to be given the opportunity to carry the torch.

Kim Hosier - Portsmouth

Kim Hosier has run the Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Centre for 15 years.

The organisation frequently uses sport to raise funds. Ms Hosier recently organised a women's football tournament and, along with other staff from the centre, has run the Great South Run on two occasions.

She was nominated by her daughter for her efforts in supporting victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. The official Locog announcement described her as "an inspiration to the community".

Ms Hosier will run a section of the route in the Bridgemary area of Gosport.

She said: "I'm very excited, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience but I'm very much running on behalf of the organisation.

"We've got 50 volunteers so I'll be carrying the torch for them as we try to raise awareness about these issues which are still largely hidden."

Nathan Mitchell - Gillingham, Kent

Sporting youngster Nathan Mitchell described his selection as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

The 12-year-old who is a pupil at The Howard School, in Gillingham, was chosen as part of the Olympic Get Set Schools programme.

Nathan, who represents the school in football, rugby and athletics, said he was still in shock after being chosen to carry the torch through Rochester.

He said: "I reckon I'll be feeling excited, proud and a bit nervous, but I don't know what it'll be like.

"I've been told the run is about a mile, so I may have to go for a couple of jogs beforehand."

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