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Paralympic Torchbearer mum all lit up by 'surreal' experience
SEEING the crowds cheering while she was carrying the Paralympic Torch was like being famous for dedicated fundraiser, Nicki Styles.
The 39-year-old mum, who was picked as a torchbearer after raising thousands of pounds for charity, carried the flame in Aylesbury on Tuesday night.
She was part of a team of five fundraisers and was the first from her group to undertake the role.
“I had to kiss torches with the previous team. It was really nerve-wracking. I thought if anything is going to go wrong it will happen while lighting the torch,” she said.
“There was a great big media van in front of us, it was like being famous because the crowds were going mad. They were cheering and clapping, it was surreal.”
Nicki, of Mannington Park, ran 130 metres with the flame before passing it on to another team mate.
“I just forgot about everything. I must have looked like the Cheshire cat, I was elated. It all went too quickly,” she said.
“I couldn’t get over the amount of people that turned out, they lined the street with lanterns and there were people with Go Team GB signs too.
“I was proud to be part of it and the fact everyone in the crowd was proud too was just amazing.”
Nicki’s son, Brandon, 12, suffers from a life-threatening metabolic disorder known as argininosuccinic aciduria, and her first child, Brett, died of the same condition when he was just six days old.
Nicki, who also has a 13-year-old daughter Krystal and son Bradley, 14, has been raising funds for Great Ormond Street and Naomi House Children’s Hospice and was nominated to carry the torch as a result of her hard work.
Nicki has taken part in three charity treks for Great Ormond Street and will be taking on her third for Naomi House Children’s Hospice, which will be in Thailand, at the end of the year.
Brandon’s condition means that he has an enzyme missing so his liver cannot excrete toxins. If not monitored carefully it could poison all his organs, which is what happened to Brett.
He is on a restricted protein diet, has complex health care needs, global developmental delay, growth hormone deficiency and is allergic to dairy products.
Great Ormond Street provide treatment for Brandon and Naomi House Children’s Hospice look after him for 16 days a year.
Nicki’s friend Lesley Lewis, of Romford, who met her on a charity trek in 2005, nominated her for the role.
Lesley said: “Nicki does stuff for everybody else and I just thought she should be recognised for the amount of charity work she does.”
Nicki is bringing her torch to an all-you-can-eat fundraising event at the Bombay Lounge in Peatmoor on September 10.
The event, which is £12.50 each, starts at 7pm and will see diners holding the torch for photos in exchange for a donation to Naomi House Hospice.
To book phone 01793 887799 or to sponsor her on her charity trek visit www.justgiving.com/nicki-styles.
Meanwhile, Wiltshire’s Louise Hunt is gearing up for the eight days of wheelchair tennis competitions at the London 2012 Payalympics, which will start on Saturday at the purpose -built Eton Manor venue in the Olympic Park.
Her final two tournaments before her Paralympic Games debut helped the Wanborough star’s confidence after she reached her third ITF 1 Series doubles semi-final of the season at the Belgian Open and finished runner-up in the women’s consolation final at the British Open.
Louise, who is part of the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Team, said: “I’m really happy with how I’m playing and I can’t wait for the Paralympics.”