Bute’s Olympic torch-bearers ready to go

BUTE’S two Olympic torch-bearers are putting the final touches to their preparations as the flame’s five thousand mile relay nears the west of Scotland.

Victoria O’Reilly and Jenna Speirs will carry the torch next Friday, June 8, at opposite ends of Ayrshire – Jenna as it passes through Girvan at 7.50am, and Victoria as it visits Beith later in the day.

Jenna, who was nominated as a result of her work with the Calum’s Cabin charity in memory of her late twin brother Calum, told The Buteman: “I can’t wait! I found out in December that I’d been nominated, and it seemed ages away then.

“But I’m a member of a group on Facebook for the Olympic torch bearers, and after reading about their stories I really can’t wait.

“My mum and dad, my gran and my aunt are all coming along, and hopefully some of my friends from school will be able to make it too – even though it’s early in the morning!”

Victoria, meanwhile, was nominated by the Link Club mental health project in Rothesay as a result of her work on Bute as a social worker and mental health officer.

Victoria, who is more used to running ‘ultra marathons’ than short relays, and who raised funds for the Link Club by running the West Highland Way race last year, said: “I’m very excited about it now.

“I know I’ll be carrying the torch in Beith, I assume through the town centre, but I’m still waiting to hear an exact time – I’m waiting for a pack to arrive with all the details.

“I saw the TV coverage of the flight with the flame arriving from Athens, and that’s when it hit me exactly what it’s all about.

“I’m not nervous yet, but I might get nervous on the day when I think about what might happen if I drop the torch or if it goes out!”

Closer to home, Apple Tree Nursery will be combining the Olympic torch relay with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by holding a local relay in Rothesay, followed by a royal garden party, on Tuesday, June 5.

The first of the nursery’s torch-bearers will leave the nursery at 10am, and will pass the torch on to various members of the community, who will run to the next identified collection point.

The torch will arrive back at the nursery between 12 noon and 12.30pm, and the nursery has issued an open invitation to the community to enjoy cucumber sandwiches and home-made lemonade on the lawn after the torch’s safe return.