Olympic torch: PC David Rathband’s Daughter Carries Flame Blindfolded

Posted by on Jun 16, 2012 | Comments Off on Olympic torch: PC David Rathband’s Daughter Carries Flame Blindfolded

 

The daughter of PC David Rathband, who was blinded by gunman Raoul Moat, has carried the Olympic torch blindfolded in memory of her late father.

A torchbearer abseiled down Gateshead’s Sage building to start day 29 of the relay which is travelling to Durham

Mia, 13, ran through Whitburn, South Tyneside, in place of her father who was nominated to take part in the relay but died in February.

Distance running champion Haile Gebrselassie also completed a leg.

On 29 February he was found hanged at his home in Blyth, Northumberland.

PC Rathband was shot and blinded by Moat while sat in a patrol car in Newcastle in 2010.

Despite his disability, he tried to rebuild his life and set up the Blue Lamp Foundation which helps emergency services personnel injured in the line of duty.

Following this Mia asked if she could run in his place.

In a statement, Mia’s mother Kath Rathband said David “would be very proud to see his Mia carry the torch”.

Following Friday’s ride on a zip-wire from the Tyne Bridge, the torch relay continued the theme of unusual methods of travel when it began Saturday’s journey shortly after 07:00 BST.

TV presenter

At the start of the day Richard Jackson carried the flame as he abseiled off The Sage, an iconic building which is a centre for musical education, performance and conferences, located on the south bank of the River Tyne.

About an hour later, the torch was taken around the athletics track at Gateshead International Stadium – the venue where, in 2006, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell equalled his own then-world record of 9.77secs for the 100m.

In South Shields, distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie and founder of the Great North Run Brendan Foster each completed a leg of the journey, as did 1,500m Olympic silver medallist Steve Cram in Sunderland.

An evening celebration will take place at Durham University Racecourse.

In another of the day’s highlights, the torch will visit the Angel of the North.

The day’s 99-mile journey will see the flame passed between 131 torchbearers, as the relay travels through Gateshead, South Shields, Whitburn, Sunderland, Gateshead: Low Fell, Gateshead: Blaydon, Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Hexham, Riding Mill, Consett, Moorside, Castleside, Tow Law, Esh, Langley Park and ends in Durham.

Baker, who co-hosts The One Show and was the runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, will light a cauldron on Durham University Racecourse, which will burn throughout the celebration evening.

The Anthony Gormey-designed steel structure, which is 20m (65ft) and has a wing span of 54m (177ft), has stood on a hill on the southern edge of Low Fell since 1998.

The final leg of the relay will be run by BBC presenter Matt Baker, who will carry the torch in his home county of Durham.

The event will include performances by indie rock trio Little Comets and the award-winning Deerness Gymnastics Academy.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.

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