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Pewsey's young Olympic torchbearer gets superstar treatment
Schoolgirl Gemma Bawcutt received a superstar welcome as she carried the Olympic torch in Salisbury yesterday.
Not only did the 12-year-old from Hilcott receive massive support from well-wishers lining the route of the relay, but later she was mobbed by crowds at Hudson's Field as the family went on to watch Wiltshire's Festival of Celebration for the Olympics.
Gemma's mum Elizabeth said: "She just got mobbed. Everyone wanted to have their photograph taken with her and the torch. It was just lovely."
Mrs Bawcutt said she shed tears of joy and pride as she watched Gemma run the relay, as did her husband Duncan. Watching with them were Gemma's two sisters Olivia, 14, and Philippa, 16, and grandfather Alan Latham, who bought the torch as a keepsake for Gemma.
Also among the crowd was the whole of Woodborough Primary School, which Gemma left last year, plus a large contingent from Pewsey Vale School, which she attends now. Chief among them was PE teacher Lyndsey Shaw who nominated Gemma for the relay because of her commitment to sport.
Gemma had to join the relay coach at 3pm, even though her run was not until 6.35pm.
Mrs Bawcutt said: "I was so proud of her. Her little face when she got off the coach to start her leg of the relay was a picture. She was just smiling and waving at everyone."
The family arrived back home in Hilcot at about 9.30pm still buzzing from the occasion. Mrs Bawcutt said: "Gemma insisted on taking the torch up to her bedroom because she didn't want to let it out of her sight. As for me, I didn't get to sleep until 2am because I was still so buzzing."
Today Gemma has gone into school for sports day wearing the official Olympic Relay top she wore yesterday and tomorrow she is going to take the torch into class to show all her friends.