University plays part in Olympic Torch Relay

Staff, students and graduates from Bangor University are among those honoured to be Torch Bearers as the Olympic Torch makes its way through north Wales in May.

The University is also looking forward to contributing to the carnival atmosphere as the city welcome the torch along its route to the Olympics. As part of the festivities, the University and Students’ Union are planning several events and entertainment in the city centre and at key points along the Torch route.

Bangor University Post Doctoral Research Officer Dr Elin Davies of the School of Healthcare Sciences was one of the first two torchbearers from Wales to be announced.

Elin Haf Davies, 35, of Parc, Bala, rowed 5,691 miles across two oceans, raising nearly £250,000 for charity.  Elin landed in Antigua to become the first Welsh woman to ever row across the Atlantic Ocean. Fourteen months later Elin joined team 'Ocean Angels' to set a world first record by becoming the first all-female crew to row 3,139 miles across the Indian Ocean - taking 78 days, 15 hours and 54 minutes.

Hazel FrostHazel FrostHazel Frost, a Clerical Assistant at the University’s School of Psychology is also to carry the Flame through Bangor. Hazel set up the Darren Frost Memorial Fund in memory of her son Darren.         “Just over two years ago I lost my son, Darren Rhys Frost. Aged 18 years old, he was on his way home from work on Boxing Day 2009 when he was involved in a road traffic accident. Since then I have been campaigning and fundraising for better leisure facilities for youngsters in Bangor. Last year saw the opening of the first concrete Skatebowl in North Wales, on Beach Road in Bangor. I and the Darren Rhys Memorial Fund committee have also been involved in the planning and organizing of a second skateboarding facility on Caernarfon Road in Bangor.”

“Future plans involve myself and Emma Wynne-Hughes climbing Kilimanjaro. We fly out ironically on the 27th July which is the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games. Money raised will go to continued improvements for Bangor and Tŷ Gobaith, a children’s hospice in Conwy.” 

Also running is Joe Mulally, from Bangor, one of Darren’s best friends who played a vital role within the committee. 

Jamie TurleyJamie TurleyAlready a  Young Ambassador for Sport Wales, first year Sports Science (Outdoor Activities) student, Jamie Turley, from Ffynongroyw, Flintshire, has been selected to run with the Olympic Torch at Towyn on the 29th- just as well as he’s the volunteer co-ordinator at the Olympic torch Celebration events in  Vaynol Park, Bangor on  the evening of May 28th 2012.

He’s keen to hear from any young people wanting to take part what he describes as: “the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the power of the Olympics in this area.”  E mail hughedwinjones@gwynedd.gov.uk  if you want to volunteer as a young person at the Torch Relay event or e mail Jamie on  peuea5@bangor.ac.uk for more information.

Dr Matthew DaviesDr Matthew DaviesResearch Assistant (27) at the School of Chemistry, Dr Matthew Davies has been confirmed as a torchbearer for the Olympics. Matthew is a Technology Transfer Fellow in Dr Peter Holliman's research group at the School of Chemistry. From Neath, in south Wales, Dr Davies completed his Ph.D in Swansea University.

 He was nominated by his partner, Lisa. Last year, he ran the Snowdonia Marathon raising money for a charity called SOS Africa.

Matthew explains: “Basically the charity tries to help and fund the education and care of underprivileged African township children. The charity is all about empowerment through education which is something I feel strongly about. I continue to support the SOS Africa charity and will be running the Snowdonia marathon once again to raise money from them, I also trying to organise other events etc throughout the year to raise even more money than last year and raise the profile of the charity. I am also applying for funding to try and organise a science workshop in some of the local schools in the SOS Africa area (South Africa). This is something that has full support of the charity and is something I feel would be wonderful to do.

“It is a great honour to be carrying the Olympic torch” he added. “The whole experience so far has been excellent, speaking with other torch bearers it is hard not to be moved and inspired by their stories. It has made me determined to do even more, to help and raise more money for charity and to do as much as possible to help others.”

Andrew Walling, a former History Department undergraduate and postgraduate, who did his PhD with the late Professor Duncan  Tanner and worked with Prof Tanner for many years in various capacities, has been chosen as one of the Olympic Torch bearers.

A keen athlete and runner, Andy retrained as a physiotherapist some years ago. Mrs Christine Tanner (who works for Residential Services) and her daughter Megan nominated Andy to carry the torch and are thrilled that he has been chosen.  Megan Tanner wrote in the nomination:

"Andy Walling is a phenomenal friend, physiotherapist, coach and contributor to the community.  He works with tireless dedication to aid and develop individuals and teams both locally and nationally, from old age pensioners and struggling athletes to the British Walking Team.  His efforts help and inspire countless people and so often go unrewarded. He does not court attention; he just gets on with it.  He is often found working long into the night from a tiny room in his house, after working all day at the hospital or clinic.  You can turn up unannounced on his doorstep and Andy will take you in for treatment, a cup of tea and probably some cake too.

“When my Father, Andy’s mentor, died, he supported my family and was always there for us. He and his children have helped my Mother become herself again."

Among other Bangor graduates selected are Fiach O’Rourke, (23) a Sport Science Graduate who has represented the Irish national Orienteering team.  He also established an Orienteering Club while at the University and was awarded Maes Glas Scholarships as a promising young sports person.

Allys Clipsham a student at Bangor University, is one of ten students from across the UK selected by Coca-Cola, a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic torch relay, to recognise and reward the positive contributions made by many students every day.

Allys, a 19 year old first year Linguistics student from Grantham, was selected following a dedicated search to find inspirational students or ‘Future Flames.’

Allys is running in memory of her great grandfather who was injured in World War 2 and then went on to win medals at the first Paralympic Games and who has inspired her to become one of the youngest female football referees.

Allys is one of the students highlighted in Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Impact of Universities, a universities UK report for Universities Week. The report  reveals that more than 90 per cent* of the UK’s universities are engaged with London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with 65 per cent expecting to gain long-term benefits from their involvement.

Also carrying the Flame, is 21 year old Caitlen Moon of Stafford, who will be running through Great Wyrley on 30 June 2012.
   
Caitlen is a third year student at Bangor University, studying French and English. She is currently on her year abroad in France.

Caitlen has already been involved with London 2012, launching the London 2012 (Young Leaders Programme ) in January 2010. At this event she interviewed Dr Tony Hayward and Dame Kelly Holmes about their roles in this new volunteering programme.

She was nominated by her younger sister who wrote: “Caitlen Moon is my older sister. She was born with Eustation Tube Dysfunction, meaning that by 18 she had had five operations on her ears, three pairs of Grommets in her ears and a T-Tube in her left ear. None of this helped meaning that at 18 she was given two Hearing Aids. Anyone who had all this pain and trouble would just give up... My sister didn't, that is why she is so inspirational to me and all around her, because she never lets her disability overrule her.

In 2008, she was elected MYP for South Staffordshire, through this she debated in the House of Lords and did over 300 hours of volunteering. Then in 2009 she became part of V20 with the volunteer organisation VInspired and then she went onto the V Trustee board. In 2010 she opened an Olympic Program where she interviewed Lord Seb Coe and Dame Kelly Holmes. While doing this she managed to overcome her hearing problems and get A-Levels in Music, English Lit/Lang and French. Living in France for 8 months as part of her University course is hard enough without having constant hearing problems that she faces, especially with speaking and listening to different French dialects. My sister is an inspiration because she always has time to do things for others and doesn't let her disability overcome her. To me, Caitlen Moon is the most inspirational person that I have ever met and when I look at her, she makes me realise that I can do anything that I want to.”

There may be other runners with connections with Bangor of whom we are not aware. Please let us know!

Publication date: 23 March 2012