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Otley woman to carry Paralympic Games torch
12:10pm Wednesday 23rd May 2012 in Otley
A woman who has campaigned for improvements to education for deaf children has been chosen to take part in the 2012 Paralympic Games torch relay.
Serena Blackburn, of Otley, was nominated to carry the Paralympic flame in a scheme run by sponsors Sainsbury’s.
The 48-year-old, who has been profoundly deaf since birth, has been described as a “brilliant mentor who has campaigned tirelessly for improvements to deaf children’s education for years” in the nomination at her local store. She was chosen as one of 100 people to carry the flame during a 24-hour relay on August 28 and 29.
“I am so excited to have been nominated to carry the Paralympic Flame,” said Mrs Blackburn, who has competed at the Deaf Olympics, winning a bronze medal.
“I’m really honoured to be taking part in a momentous occasion for both the United Kingdom and Otley.”
Once the flame has been lit, it will be carried by Mrs Blackburn and other torchbearers on a 24-hour relay from Stoke Mandeville in Aylesbury to the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London.
To commemorate and celebrate the occasion, there will be a series of public events, called Flame Festivals, during the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Sainsbury’s chief executive officer Justin King, who met some of the torchbearers, said: “It’s an honour for me to meet Serena. Her commitment to deaf children’s education and her personal achievement at the Deaf Olympics were the key reasons that she was nominated and I am thrilled that she will be representing Sainsbury’s in this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.”