Torchbearer, 12, has Olympic dream

Torchbearer Peter Wyatt is cheered by crowds in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Torchbearers Rebecca Nash and Peter Wyatt with the Mayor of Stratford-Upon-Avon Edward Keith Lloydon

First published in National News © by

A young fencer with her eye on taking part in the next Olympics carried the Olympic Torch to a medieval castle as it continued its journey through the Midlands today.

Nearly 3,000 family, friends and members of the public watched Chloe Pahnke as she passed the torch to Georgina Harland at the gate of Warwick Castle.

Miss Pahnke, from Coventry, said: "To start with I was really nervous but then when I was actually carrying it, it was amazing. I still can't believe it."

The 12-year-old, who has been fencing for two years, is training to take part in the next Olympics. She said: "My dream is to get a Gold medal in the Olympics. I train every week. I want to take part as it's a major sporting event that brings everyone together."

She passed the torch to Ms Harland. The 34-year-old from Bath won the bronze in the Modern Pentathlon in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. The torch was then passed on to Graham Fulford, who was ecstatic to be carrying the torch in his home town of Warwick.

The 65-year-old, whose charity, The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust, works to raise awareness of prostate cancer, said: "Absolutely awesome. A once in a lifetime opportunity. A fantastic experience. Everyone was cheering me. Absolutely fabulous."

Mr Fulford's charity has raised more than £250,000 which has been used directly to give 12,000 men the chance to have a PSA test they might not have had. The torch left Birmingham at 6am with the youngest torchbearer of the relay, Dominic MacGowan, among those carrying the flame.

The 12-year-old, from Harborne, carried the torch through Sparkhill in the UK's second city. The youngster, who plays for West Bromwich Albion's under-12s shadow squad, said he hoped to be an Olympic footballer one day.

On the football club's website he said: "I can't believe I'm the youngest torchbearer and would like to do it again, only as an Olympian. My goal is to take part in the Olympics Games as an athlete and at the moment football is my favourite sport, so I'd like to be an Olympic footballer."

After leaving Birmingham the torch visited Solihull, Eastwood, Redditch, Astwood Bank, Alcester, Evesham, Wickhamford, Broadway, Chipping Campden, Newbold-on-Stour, and Alderminster before arriving in William Shakespeare's home town Stratford upon Avon.

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