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Life-saving motorcyclist is given Olympic torch honour
A TORCHBEARER from Swindon shrugged off the rain as he was cheered on by thousands of spectators who turned out to watch the Olympic flame pass through Weymouth.
Paul Clark helped carry the symbol of the Games through the coastal village of Wyke Regis.
He was nominated by BMW Swindon, where he is a maintenance gang engineer, for helping to save lives by motorbiking urgently-needed items between hospitals.
The 46-year-old, of Stratton, said: “I didn’t notice the rain at all.
“I couldn’t believe how many people stood out in the wet weather to watch the torch go by. The atmosphere really made the day.
“There was music in the vans which were in the cavalcade and people hanging out of windows and looking over fences. It was a brilliant day.”
A big banner saying ‘GO PAUL!’ – which had been part of a supporters’ pack provided by BMW – was displayed by his family.
His parents Pat and Bernard, wife Sally and her two children all made the 90-mile trip.
The torch now takes pride of place in Paul’s living room.
He was nominated for his work with the Severn Freewheelers charity, which transports urgently needed blood, drugs and other materials between hospitals.
Paul has volunteered for the life-saving service since 2008, fitting in the 7pm to 7am call-out period around his shifts at the plant in Bridge End Road.
He had already watched the relay go past his workplace on the Swindon leg before taking his turn in Weymouth on Thursday.
BMW arranged his travel to and from the event and a ticket to a beach party – which had finished by the time he got to the event after completing one the final legs of the day.
The motorcyclist’s volunteering includes running one of the bikes, which is based in Swindon but transfers supplies between the town and other destinations including Marlborough, John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, and Newbury.
The bikes have high-visibility markings, blue lights and sirens for emergency use.
Paul has also completed a 600-mile charity cycle ride across the Andes in Peru for the National Asthma Campaign, raising £2,000.
The Freewheelers charity needs to raise around £35,000 every year to run the service and budgets to replace the motorcycle fleet every two to three years.
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