Torch hero to light up Royal Wootton Bassett again

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: From left, Royal Wootton Bassett council groundsmen John Macindoe, Mike Stacey and John Smart with a 35ft Christmas tree which has just been put up in the High Street From left, Royal Wootton Bassett council groundsmen John Macindoe, Mike Stacey and John Smart with a 35ft Christmas tree which has just been put up in the High Street

The Olympic torchbearer who inspired the nation as he carried the flame through Royal Wootton Bassett returns to the town on Friday for the Christmas lights switch-on.

Paralympic hopeful Ben Fox, of Westlea, will be helping to turn on the lights at the event in the High Street from 6pm.

He will be accompanied by Miss Swindon, Ela Good, who lives in Royal Wootton Bassett, and the winner of a colouring competition run by the town council.

Ben said: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m a little bit nervous. It has been a really good year with the whole feel of the Olympics. Being at the Christmas lights switch on will be a good way to finish off the year.

“It will be quite emotional being back in Royal Wootton Bassett. I haven’t been back since. I remember the crowds cheering me on.”

Ben was born with a catalogue of defects in his vital organs and no right leg due to a rare condition called Vater Syndrome.

He carried the torch in one hand and a crutch in the other and stopped several times to swap hands as he made the 300-metre journey from the war memorial to Lime Kiln.

The wheelchair basketball player, who was a Coca Cola Future Flame winner, chose to use a crutch for the journey rather than a wheelchair.

The Christmas lights event on Friday will include workshops, a fairground, carols by the tree, a brass band, Mystic Ruth and gift and food stalls. Shops will be open until late. The event will also include a fire-eater, face-painting and Santa’s grotto.

The competition winner will arrive in the High Street with Santa and reindeer at 6pm and the lights will be switched on at 6.15pm.

The High Street will be closed to traffic from the Coxstalls roundabout to the junction with Station Road, near the Town Hall, from 5pm-9pm.

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