This morning the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOGOG) confirmed over 7,300 inspiring people who will be carrying the Flame in the Olympic Torch Replay.
I am very proud to have been selected to be one of 8,000 Olympic Torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Torch in the lead up to the Olympic Games this summer.
I will be carrying the Olympic Torch on Monday 23rd July, the day before my mother’s 70th Birthday.
It is a great honour to share this with my family and friends who I know will be there cheering me on. I acknowledge my immediate family, my partner Ryan Parkins and his family in South Africa, my parents Carol and Michael Healey and my sister Joanna and her husband Mark Haddrell.
I pay tribute to my Grandparents, Alice and James Healey, Doris and Roy Andrews and Lloyd Graham, Doris’s first husband. Theirs was a generation that made great sacrifices for many of the freedoms that we enjoy today. My mother lost her father during the Second World War when she was only two years old, and it is in his memory that I have been inspired and striven to do my best to help others.
And my extended family, including those special people who I am privileged to call my friends. The people who I went to school with, those that I have worked campaigned and socialised with over the years, and those who share my passion for community development.
As an openly gay man, as I carry the Olympic Torch I will do so acknowledging that I am lucky to live in a country where I am free to be who I want to be, knowing that I was nominated because of the work that I and others have done and are still doing to tackle prejudice and hate within our communities. I hope that my involvement will inspire other people to do more for the global community to which we all belong.
I founded 17-24-30 in April 2009 to mark the 10th anniversary of the London Nail Bomb attacks on Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho hoping to help organise and facilitate the April acts of Remembrance which take place in London each year. I wanted to draw attention to the issue of hate crime and encourage those who have been affected by it to work together with the wider community to tackle it so that eventually it can be eliminated.
Later the same year, Ian Baynham was homophobically beaten and later died of his injuries. In October 2009, we helped organised the first Vigil against Hate Crime in Trafalgar Square attended by 10,000 – which has since become an annual Vigil of Hope and Remembrance for all those affected by acts of hate.
As I carry the Olympic Torch I will be remembering those who should have been with us today, those who had their lives cut short through acts of hate. Taking part, I hope to honour their memory, and pray that the spirit of these Olympic Games will continue to help inspire all of us towards a better more peaceful world free from all forms of prejudice and hate.
Olympic Torchbearer 2012