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Carrying the Olympic Torch in memory of Elizabeth Panton

09/12/11
I was shocked and deeply humbled to hear, earlier in August, of my nomination to carry the official Olympic Flame through London for the 2012 Olympics. So when I received an email this week to inform me of my final selection, I felt lost for words to be honest.

My inspiration – and whom I will be incredibly proud to hold the torch high for and represent to the world next summer – is a ground-breaking charity called Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope (ELofH).  I do not, and never will, feel worthy of this honour given the sacrifices of the charity’s founders Sarah Hope and Victoria Bacon, and indeed the other Olympic torch bearers that I met this week. 

ELofH, was founded in 2010 by my close friends Christopher and Sarah Hope, and Victoria and Richard Bacon. Both families (Sarah and Victoria are twin sisters) experienced a terrible tragedy involving a bus crash in 2007, causing Sarah and Victoria’s mother to lose her life, and Pollyanna, Sarah’s young daughter, to lose her leg at the scene of the accident.  But since then – and what has truly inspired me to get involved and help in any way I can – the Hopes and Bacons have been nothing but strong, passionate and determined to turn what was a moment of deep darkness in their lives into a huge force for good. 

Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope, named in memory of Sarah and Victoria’s mother, Elizabeth Panton, supports disadvantaged amputee children all over the world gain access to the prosthetic limbs and support they need so that they can be healthy, happy and active – just like Pollyanna is now.

Last year, I was honoured to accept an invitation to become a Trustee for Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope, and offered the charity our PLMR office space and our time as a company, with my inspirational friend Rebecca Newsom doing amazing work.  Since then, things have gone from strength to strength.  In June, ELofH signed its first partnership agreement to establish dedicated limb clinic in Tanzania, and we are about to form another partnership, sponsoring 17 Tanzanian amputees to cater for all their prosthetic needs for the rest of their childhood.  We are also investigating projects in Sierra Leone and Haiti.

I will be immensely proud to carry the Olympic torch next summer, always at the forefront of my mind as I carry it in London will be the inspiration and dedication of the Hopes and Bacons, the life of Elizabeth Panton, the resilience of Pollyanna, and the hundreds of children’s lives that have been, and which will continue to be, transformed by Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope.  The Olympic Torch embodies peace, unity and friendship. To that would add the courage and selflessness embodied by the founders of this wonderful charity.

If you are able, please consider supporting this amazing charity http://www.justgiving.com/elizabethslegacyofhope

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