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Daniel's Story

Of course, the Royal Parks Half Marathon was not the only major sporting event in 2012 - there was also the little matter of the Olympics, and for Daniel Thomas the opportunity of a lifetime.

The start of the Olympics was a little disappointing as we were only allocated some football tickets but this all changed in March when I got an email to say I had been chosen to carry the Olympic flame on Saturday 7th July in my home town of Saffron Walden, Essex. I had been nominated through Lloyds Bank, because I volunteer at our local community cinema and help coach juniors at my local cricket club, as well as having helped to set up and captain a disability cricket team.

7th July and I saw the torch for the first time - taller than I thought it would be but not heavy. I also discovered that the torchbearer before me was the chef, Jamie Oliver!

The day started off bright and sunny and the crowds built - up to 10 deep down the High Street. However, the weather soon changed and it started to rain. By the time I started my leg, the sides of the roads were flooded and the gutters full up.

Despite the weather I decided not to wear the plastic poncho provided and went slowly so that people had more chance to see the flame. Everyone was cheering and clapping and shouting and taking photos as I jogged past - I was meant to do about 450 metres but the person I was to hand over to had not arrived so I was asked to do the next leg as well.

All too soon I was passing on the flame and got back on the bus and the first person to greet me was Jamie Oliver.

"Did you enjoy that, mate?" "Yes, I did" I replied. 7th July was a fantastic day and such a great experience. It has greatly improved my confidence. The incredible summer of sport did not end there either as I was asked to join up with the England development squad for learning disability cricket that evening. Finally, the Olympic football tickets meant that I spent my 18th birthday at Old Trafford watching Team GB play, and I also got to see a lot the Paralympics as well and enjoy the incredible atmosphere and support for all the athletes.

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