By Ian Dipple 01/07 Updated: 04/07 07:06
A REDDITCH woman who does voluntary work with young people and raises money for good causes has described carrying the Olympic Torch as 'overwhelming' and 'unforgettable'.
Holly Parker carried the Flame along the final section of the route through Alcester in front of thousands of people who had turned out to line the streets in support.
The 23-year-old was nominated because of her work on various projects using arts and culture to inspire others. In particular she supports the National Youth Theatre running courses and also ran the Brighton Marathon to raise money for the charity's bursary scheme to help disadvantaged young people.
Her other fund-raising exploits include running another marathon to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young and all while completing a degree in Theatre and Performance Studies at Warwick University and working three part-time jobs.
The Matchborough resident told the Standard: "It was really overwhelming with all the people and children wanting pictures, I loved it, it's unlike anything and I think everyone should get the chance to do it. I won't forget this ever."
Carrying the Flame through Alcester was extra special for Holly as she was a former pupil at Alcester Grammar School which first inspired her love of theatre and drama as well as running.
"Although it would have been great to run in Redditch, this does feel like a coming home type thing like I've come full circle. I spent most of my teenage years here and I loved it and I love Alcester and feel that real connection with the town and it has a great community spirit which is why it was nice to carry the torch here."
But while Holly was delighted to be nominated she admitted to being humbled by the experience.
"Part of me doesn't feel deserving enough. You see in the press stories about wounded soldiers and amazing people who have fought cancer and I think I don't know if I'm as worthy as those people but it is such an honour."
But friend Jessie Dutton, who nominated her, was in no doubt Holly was a worthy candidate.
"I've only known her three years but the impact she has had on me and anyone else she meets is huge."
For fellow torchbearer Celia Taylor, who took the Flame through Alcester High Street, it was a moment of consolation after injury robbed the 800m runner, from Sutton Coldfield, of the chance to compete at the Olympic trials for a place in the GB squad.
There was also a special moment for 16-year-old Sophie Witherford from Malvern who got to carry the Flame for 600m, double the usual distance, after one of the runners failed to turn up.
"It was amazing as there were so many people cheering and so much support it just made you want to keep running."
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