Hearts of Gold to carry Olympic flame

Chris Hester from Brackley is an Olympic torch bearer and was nominated by her daughter Karen Young.'120321M-B078

Chris Hester from Brackley is an Olympic torch bearer and was nominated by her daughter Karen Young.'120321M-B078

0
Have your say

A HAVE-A-GO hero and a foster carer to hundreds of children are among those representing south Northants during the 70 day London 2012 Olympic Flame Relay.

This week Olympic organisers announced those who will help carry the Olympic flame around the country ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday, July 27.

Alexandra Riley from Lois Weedon is an Olympic torch bearer.'120321M-C114

Alexandra Riley from Lois Weedon is an Olympic torch bearer.'120321M-C114

Christine Hester, 65, from Brackley, will be running alongside Alexandra Riley, 56, from Lois Weedon, when the Olympic Flame travels through Wellingborough, while Colin Bycroft from Silverstone – who has raised more than £27,000 for charity – will carry the torch through Bletchley.

Mrs Riley, originally from Buckingham, hit the headlines in March 2011 when she saved a disabled woman in her 80s from a burning building in Weston.

The fire destroyed the grade two-listed Armada House, thought to be one of the oldest houses in the county.

Following the heroic event, Mrs Riley’s three children all nominated their mother to take part in the Relay.

Colin Bycroft from Silverstone at John O'Groats

Colin Bycroft from Silverstone at John O'Groats

She received final confirmation last week after going through the process of short listing.

She said: “I had no idea. My husband opened the email saying I had been nominated. He said you’re never going to believe this. I distinctly remember the day. It was a shock.

“I’m starting to get a bit nervous now. I know it is such an honour, we will never see the Olympics here again, certainly in my lifetime.

“To be honest it probably still has not sunk in.”

Mrs Riley, who works as a personal assistant at Berrys Valuers and Surveyors, worked next door to Armada House before the company moved to its current premises in Towcester.

On March 1 last year builders raised the alarm that smoke was pouring out of the house. Mrs Riley ran into the hallway and upstairs, where she knew the woman would be in bed.

She lifted the woman and passed her out a first floor window to the builders and her boss, who had put up a ladder below.

Mrs Riley’s family, including daughters Eve, aged 29, and Hannah, 27, as well as 24-year-old son Ben and their father Michael, plan to travel to Wellingborough to watch Mrs Riley carry the torch.

Mrs Hester began fostering 40 years ago in Harrow and moved to Brackley 25 years ago. The former district commissioner for Guiding in south Northants said she had no idea her daughter Karen Young had nominated her and the first she knew about it was when someone rang telling her to check her emails.

She said: “I opened it up and it said you have been nominated to be a torch bearer, and I thought, goodness me! Who’s done this?

“It’s brilliant really, it’s an honour to be one of those chosen few, and a really big honour.”

Colin Bycroft nominated himself for the relay after a stranger contacted him to say that he had been inspired to cycle from Land Ends to John O’Groats after reading Mr Bycroft’s book about his own sponsored cycle.

As well as cycling the length of Britain, Mr Bycroft has swum the English Channel, run marathons and organised sponsored bike rides, primarily raising money to support Alzheimer’s charities and cancer research.

Mr Bycroft said he was gobsmacked when he found he was one of those chosen to carry the torch.

He said: “I desperately wanted to do it. I love all sports and I think the Olympics coming to Britain is a fantastic thing, very exciting.”