The Torch Relay will finish at the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony on Friday 27 July, when the flame will light a cauldron that will burn throughout the Games.
8,000 torchbearers are carrying the Torch on its journey round the country – all were nominated by friends or family because of the inspirational work they do to support and enrich their community. A number of Brunel students and staff were selected, after nominations either by the University or in their hometowns for their volunteer work, charity fundraising, or involvement in community sports programmes.
Graduating Information Systems student Ainsley Bell (pictured) was nominated by Brunel University as part of Samsung’s Torch Relay scheme for universities.
“I was nominated by Brunel initially because of my academic achievements – I had the highest final degree mark in my academic School, and was picked along with 15 other students who had achieved the highest grades in their Schools. To be selected from this final 16, I had to write a 500 word essay about my community work, a football project that I set up to encourage children to get involved with sport.
It was a major achievement for me to finish my degree at all – when I came back for my final year I was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told me to defer for a year, but I carried on with my studies while having operations and treatment. I put in double the work and it paid dividends.
It’s a very humbling experience to have been selected. To me, the Torch represents hope. People can experience struggles and can overcome them, and come out on top. I hope I inspire people to overcome their own hurdles.”
Sport Sciences PhD student Nick Tiller was nominated to carry the Torch by a friend who was inspired by his charity fundraising.
“I was nominated by a friend and didn’t know anything about it for a month – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I didn’t think I would get through to the final shortlist.
I’ve done a lot of charity work and have been involved in ultra marathon running for several years – the most extreme race I’ve done was the Marathon des Sables, a six day race on foot through the Sahara Desert. You have to be self-sufficient and carry all your own food and medical supplies – the organisers just provide tents and water.
I wanted to raise a lot of money for charity – I’m not a celebrity, I’m no one special, so I knew I had to do something a little bit stupid! I raised £5,500 for charity, just from friends and family.
It’s a huge honour to be part of such a historic event.”