Samaritans volunteers chosen to carry Olympic Torch

We are pleased to announce that three of our volunteers have been selected to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay in recognition of their voluntary work with Mary Down, Samaritans volunteer and Olympic torch bearerSamaritans.

Sixty-year-old Mary Down from Torquay, the first of our volunteers, carried the torch on the 25 May, in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.  Nominated by her son John, Mary volunteers at the Torquay branch of Samaritans.  Mary also spends time volunteering as a Brown Owl, a church bell-ringer and as a fundraiser. Mary spends much of her time with her family who live in Wales.
Preparing for the big day she said: “It is a real honour to be chosen as a torch bearer. I still can’t believe I have been selected, it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind! I am going to walk extremely slowly and savour every last second!”
Cherry, Samaritans volunteer and Olympic torch bearerBromsgrove-based Cherry, 49, carried the torch on Sunday, 1 July at Earlswood, near Coventry.  Nominated by her husband David, Cherry has volunteered for over ten years and with both the Solihull and correspondence branches of the charity.

Prior to the day Cherry said: “It feels like a dream come true to be chosen as a Torchbearer!  It’s astonishing and a real honour. I am a keen runner and have completed two marathons, so I intend to sprint all the way!”

Lee, Samartians volunteer and Olympic torch bearerLee, 41, from Church Crookham, will carry the torch Thursday, 5 July in Saxmundham, Suffolk.  Nominated by his wife Lisa, Lee has volunteered for ten years with Samaritans and is currently based at the Farnborough branch.  Lee has also volunteered with Cyprus Samaritans, a branch of the international organisation Befrienders, while stationed there with his job as an RAF Engineer.
Lee said: “It was an enormous surprise when I received the first correspondence from the Olympic Torch Organisers. It’s a matter of honour to even touch the torch, never mind carrying it a distance.  Everyone has seen how important the Olympics will be for our country, and it will be a massive privilege to be able to say that I was one of the torchbearers.”
Chair of Samaritans, Stephen Hoddell said: “We are honoured to have three of our hardworking volunteers selected as Olympic torch bearers.  Congratulations to Mary, Cherry and Lee, this is well-deserved recognition of the years of voluntary work they have devoted to helping others. On behalf of the whole charity I’d like to wish them best of luck and thank them for their commitment to Samaritans.”