Sheffield & South Yorkshire

London 2012: Ex-soldier's Olympic torch relay in doubt

Ben Parkinson
Image caption Ben Parkinson's mother said Ben would not consider using a wheelchair for the torch relay

An injured soldier from Doncaster has learnt the Olympic torch route he was due to walk has changed, throwing his "moment to shine" in doubt.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson has prosthetic limbs after losing his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2006.

He was due to carry the torch on 26 June along a flat route in Bennetthorpe but has been told the route has changed to an "undulating" area.

The London 2012 organising committe, Locog, said it was investigating.

Lance Bombardier Parkinson was originally due to walk past the cenotaph in Bennetthorpe but he has now been given a stretch of the A630 Balby Road.

His mother, Diane Dernie, said he would be unable to walk on the route using artificial legs without the aid of crutches.

'It's his goal'

Lance Bombardier Parkinson, who served with the 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery, also suffered brain damage and a broken back when his Land Rover was ripped apart by an anti-tank mine.

Ms Dernie said: "We know that Ben has got no right anymore than anyone else.. but if they could just know how hard he has worked for this.

"For Ben it's not just a matter of turning up and running. He's worked for this ever since he was nominated."

Ms Dernie said Locog had told her a wheelchair could be used to carry the Olympic torch but the suggestion was dismissed by Lance Bombardier Parkinson.

"I'm afraid Ben's response isn't printable.

"The whole purpose of this is that Ben wanted to do it on his legs, for his team, for Doncaster to show just how well he's done."

"It's his goal. It would be tragic to take it away from him."

A spokesperson for Locog said that it had received a request for the stretch of the route to be changed and it was seeking to resolve issue.

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