A HARTLEPOOL man said he is honoured to have been chosen as a torchbearer for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Robert Powell, 29, is one of 625 people who will be carrying the Paralympic Flame after being nominated for the work he does with people who have learning disabilities.
The former Brierton School pupil, who now lives in central London, admits it is a real honour to have been chosen to play a part in the Paralympic Games, which get underway on Wednesday, August 29.
Robbie, who works at a London law firm, said: “This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I cannot wait. It is a fantastic honour and great to be part of it.”
The London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay is already underway and Robbie will be carrying the Flame in Harrow, north London, at 3.37am next Wednesday, ahead of the opening ceremony.
The Torch Relay started on Wednesday when four teams of torchbearers scaled the four highest peaks of the UK, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England and Slieve Donard, in Northern Ireland, to create a national flame in each country.
Each national flame will then travel to its respective capital city, where it will take part in a cauldron lighting ceremony.
That is due to take place in London today, Greater Belfast on Saturday, August 25, Edinburgh on Sunday, August 26 and Cardiff on Monday.
The flames will then be taken to Stoke Mandeville, home of the Paralympic movement, where they will be united during the Paralympic Flame Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday, August 28.
Later that night, the flame will be carried by torchbearers in teams of five in an overnight relay from Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony.
Robbie, whose team will be carrying the flame half-a-mile, said: “I was nominated by my colleagues from my law firm CMS Cameron McKenna through the Lloyds TSB public campaign.
“I have done lots of work for various charities down the years, most recently for Special Olympics GB, who provide year round sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities.
“I have championed Special Olympics GB in my firm to help employees raise more than £107,000 since May 2011, in addition to volunteering at a number of events.”
Meanwhile, in January, Robbie is being seconded for two weeks to work for Special Olympics GB at the Special Olympics World Winter Games, in PyeongChang, South Korea, where he will be working as their PR co-ordinator.
During the Olympic Games, Robbie spent six nights volunteering as a London Ambassador, providing real time information and local knowledge to visitors.
“It was a fantastic experience.”
Robbie grew up in Caledonian Road, Hartlepool, and his mum Linda Powell, 52, still lives in town.
He also has a brother, David, 27, who is currently travelling around New Zealand.