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Crowds pack Royal Wootton Bassett to watch Olympic torch
The High Street which became famous for the support shown during repatriations was packed again as people watched the Olympic flame.
Hundreds of people were in Royal Wootton Bassett to see the torch carried from Noremarsh Road to Station Road and up the High Street.
Daisy Barker, 13, who lives in Draycott Cerne, took the torch through Royal Wootton Bassett, with David Hemery, the Olympics 400m hurdles champion in Mexico in 1968, being the first to carry it in the town.
Daisy, a student at Sheldon School in Chippenham was nominated because she cares for her mum Rachel, who suffers with brain cancer and the teenager is also soon to undertake a skydive to raise money for cancer charities.
In the nomination, her mother wrote: “All this she does as well as her school work without complaining and most of her friends don’t even know about her situation.
“She is such a hero and a true loyal daughter and friend. Daisy will always put others before herself and help anyone she can and will cook and clean without complaint and has been doing so since a young age. Well done Daisy, you make me so proud.”
Daisy said: “It was a bit nerve-wracking to begin with. I was worried that I was going to drop the torch or set fire to my hair. But I stopped being nervous when I got started.
“There were so many people watching, and it was really hot, but it was such a nice day.”
She handed the flame on to Ben Fox, 16, of Westlea, Swindon, who carried a crutch in one hand and the torch in the other.
Mike Leighfield, Royal Wootton Bassett’s mayor, said: “I was mayor four years ago and we had an awful lot of people on the High Street then but for a completely different reason.
“To see it now on this joyous occasion is absolutely fantastic.
“We are all very proud. We haven’t even been Royal for a year and to have the Olympic Torch coming to Royal Wootton Bassett for the first time is fabulous.”
Bagpipes were playing, whistles were blowing and the crowds were cheering as soon as they saw the torch."
Luke Shipway, 22, of Calne and Katie Hincks, 33, of Cirencester, also carried the torch through the town.
Pupils from Royal Wootton Bassett Acacedmy, Noremarsh Primary School, Longleaze Primary School and St Bartholomew’s Primary School were lining the route.
St Bartholomews Primary School headteacher, Suzanne Lane, said: “As soon as we found out the torch was coming we thought straight away we have got to go out.
“It was wonderful seeing the torch. It was memorable and special for everyone. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and they loved the carnival atmosphere.”
Flags and bunting had been put up along the route, and St Bartholomew’s Primary School pupils were waving flags they had made themselves.
Joe Morley, 10, who is in Year 6, said: “Seeing the torch was incredible. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see it. I never thought this was going to happen. I will be telling everyone I saw the Olympic Torch and that it was incredible.”
Chloe Woodhouse, 10, said: “It was amazing and exciting. At first I didn’t know it was going to come but as soon as I saw all the trucks come past it was really exciting. I waved my Union Jack flag when the torchbearer came past. I think all of us helped spur them on.”
David Hemery, who was an Olympics 400m hurdles champion in Mexico in 1968, was the first torchbearer to carry the torch in the town.
Daisy Barker, 13, of Chippenham, Luke Shipway, 22, of Calne and Katie Hincks, 33, of Cirencester, also carried the torch through the town.
Ben, who carried the torch from the War Memorial to Lime Kiln, was born with a catalogue of defects in his vital organs and limbs, and was born with no right leg, due to an extremely rare condition called Vater syndrome.
The teenager, who was a Coca Cola Future Flame, completed the journey unaided but had to keep stopping to swap the hands he was carrying the torch and his crutch in.
His mum, Carol Hearne, ran beside him shouting words of encouragement as he completed the route.
Consultant surgeon, Rowena Hitchcock, from Oxford Children’s Hospital, who has been helping Ben since he was born, was also in the crowd with his family.
Ben’s mum, Carol, said: “It was incredible. Ben wants to be at the Olympics in 2016 as a wheelchair basketball player so this is just a taster for him. He is just an amazing lad. He has had a lot to put up with, he has had 32 operations. As you can see he was born without a right leg.
“If you say to Ben he can’t do something he will do it.”