An insiders account of the Olympic Torch Relay - Birmingham
04 Jul 2012
John Ellery passes the Flame to Sir Cliff Richard
John Ellery, sported. Regional Manager for the West Midlands,
ran his leg of the Torch Relay on Saturday 30 June. Here, he
reflects on this once in a lifetime experience...
"Carrying the flame was an incredible experience and I feel
extremely fortunate to have been nominated by my colleagues at
sported. and to have been chosen as one of the 8,000 Olympic
Having always worked in Sport for Development and now a charity
working towards the Olympic Legacy, I've been counting down the
days to the 2012 Olympics for the past seven years. I can
even remember '2,000 days to go' events being organised, so I feel
so privileged to say I have now been a tiny part of the 2012 Games
in the UK.
Myself and the team of Torchbearers I was with were extremely
moved by the amount of people who turned out to see the
Relay. Taking that step off the coach to be greeted by a
large crowd was a very surreal and touching moment.
As I began my run, I saw friends, family and former colleagues as
well as sported. Mentors and Members, who had turned out to see me
with the Flame. Unfortunately, I know I didn't manage to see or
wave to everyone that lined the road on the day.
The highlight of my experience is something I will be able to keep
with me for years to come - the reaction of people when they see
the Olympic Torch. I was dropped off for my leg of the run 10
minutes before the Flame arrived, which gave me the chance to show
the Torch to children and young people in the crowd. They all
reacted with such amazement that they were able to touch and hold
the Torch and be photographed with it.
Since running my leg of the Relay, I have shared the Torch with
friends and family who, young and old, have the exact same response
and I intend to take the Torch out to a number of sported. Members
over the coming months. Whilst I was fortunate to be able to carry
the Flame, I feel my role was on behalf of the incredible
organisations I have worked for, volunteered with and supported
over the past 15 years and therefore feel it is essential that this
experience is shared as much as possible.
We are fortunate in the West Midlands to have an Olympic co-host
City in the region, being Coventry, however the Torch Relay really
has brought the Olympics to the whole of the region, with over
750,000 people having lined the streets along the route in the West
Midlands. Now there is just 24 days to go to London 2012, the
excitement and anticipation can really be felt."