Three De Montfort University students are about to play their part in sporting history when they carry the Olympic Flame, as it makes its way through Leicestershire this Monday and Tuesday.
Master’s student Matt Gopsill, 30, psychology student Ahmad Teladia, 21, and midwifery student Kerry Hewitt, 36, have been given the golden opportunity after being nominated by DMU staff.
DMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard has said the three students are “an inspiration to us all” and learning from their triumphs, as well as those of the many other runners, will be “a fitting Olympic legacy”.
Professor Shellard, who is planning to cheer on all three DMU students during the torch relay, has urged DMU academics and students to do the same and play their part in spreading the Olympic message of peace, unity and friendship.
Matt, who is studying a master’s degree in computing, has athetoid cerebral palsy. He uses a motorised wheelchair controlled by his head movements and relies on a computer screen to communicate.
Matt’s nomination by the Faculty of Technology praised him for being a model student who completes his work to a high standard with the minimal of fuss adding: “Matt is a real example of what DMU can do for any student with the determination to succeed”.
Matt, who will be a torch bearer on Tuesday morning in Humberstone Road, said: “When DMU asked me if I minded having my name put forward for the torch relay I was astonished to be picked from thousands of students. I could not believe it. I think I am an ordinary student with a few extra wheels!
“I will be so proud to carry the flame and I am grateful to DMU for giving me the chance of a lifetime.”
Matt will travel along Abbey Park Road from pole #11 on the route on Tuesday morning. This journey will start at approximately 7.35am, and cover a distance of 0.2 miles.
Ahmad was nominated for being a dedicated volunteer who has raised thousands of pounds for charity. He has helped primary school children through a Right to Read programme, climbed Ben Nevis to raise funds for Islamic Relief, abseiled down the Leicester Tigers’ stadium for Christian Aid and cycled from London to Edinburgh for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
He has also raised funds for victims of the Japanese Tsunami and volunteered with DMU’s award-winning Square Mile project.
Ahmad, who will be a torch bearer on Tuesday in Abbey Park Road, said: “I am really, really looking forward to the event. DMU has given me so many of the volunteering opportunities which earned my nomination in the first place so it will be good to represent the university in this way.”
Ahmad will travel along the A6 Abbey Lane from the Esso Petrol Station. This journey will start at approximately 8am on Tuesday.
Kerry is a third year student midwife who was nominated for working hard to overcome dyslexia and its numerical equivalent, dyscalculia. Kerry was also put forward for juggling her studies, which includes early and late shift work, with raising her three children Kiah, 17, Kieran, 14, and Alfie, aged four, without ever complaining. Kerry is also a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research and completed the 10km Race for Life.
Former hairdresser Kerry, who will have family, friends and university tutors cheering her en route on Monday evening in London Road, said: “I was a bit shocked and overwhelmed when I was told and now I am a bit scared if I’m honest. I still feel there are far more inspirational people than myself.
“I just see myself as a normal mum-of-three who is motivated to do the best I possibly can in everything I set out to achieve – just like many others.
“People don’t really know I have learning differences because I basically get on with it and have always been aware that I have to work as hard as I can to keep up.
“I have always wanted to be a midwife and feel so passionate about the role. I really hope I can make a difference somewhere with my skills.”
Kerry will travel along the A6 London Road from Stoughton Road. This journey will start at approximately 5.55pm on Monday.
Professor Shellard, who met up with the three DMU torch bearers to wish them all the best, said: “Seeing the historic torch relay will be thrilling enough but to have three DMU students involved fills me with a lot of pride. They are an inspiration to us all.
“So many people have uplifting stories to tell about why they were selected to carry the torch. Many have triumphed over adversity and achieved great personal goals, just as our elite Olympic and Paralympic athletes plan to do at the end of July.
“We would do well to remember these stories and be inspired by them. That’s what I see as an Olympic legacy.”
The three places were offered to DMU by electronics giant Samsung, which is a “presenting partner” of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. The company said it wanted to offer the places as a way of rewarding individuals who always go the extra mile.
The Leicestershire leg of the relay starts in Market Harborough on Monday, July 2. The torch will be carried through Oadby and on to Leicester, where it will be transferred into a cauldron in Abbey Park to burn overnight.
Thousands of people are expected to take part in an evening party with music and entertainment in Abbey Park.
The next morning, torchbearers will take the flame by train to Quorn, from where it will travel through Charnwood, Melton and on to Rutland.
A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame as it makes its way around the UK.
Posted on Friday 29th June 2012