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Life-saving biker to bear Olympic flame
A TORCHBEARER from Swindon who has helped save lives by motorbiking urgently needed items between hospitals is to make a 90-mile journey to carry the flame through Weymouth.
Paul Clark was nominated for his charity work by BMW Swindon, where he is employed as a maintenance gang engineer.
He works with the Severn Freewheelers charity, which transports urgently needed blood, drugs and other materials between hospitals.
Paul, 46, has volunteered for the life-saving service since 2008, fitting in the call-out period between 7pm and 7am around his shifts at the plant in Stratton St Margaret.
He has already watched the relay go past his workplace on the Swindon leg and is gearing up for his own big moment in Wyke Regis on July 12.
Paul said: “I’m amazed how many people turned up to watch the torch pass through Swindon. Weymouth is a bit of distance but it will be nice to do it down there.
“A lot of people have said how far away it is when I could have stayed in my home town, but it will be great to see somewhere different.
“The family will also be down there to cheer me on.”
BMW is arranging Paul’s travel to and from the event and he will also be given a ticket to the beach party afterwards.
The bash features rapper Wretch 32 performing on Weymouth Beach.
Paul said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take part in the Olympic relay.
“It should be an amazing experience and I am looking forward to it even more now I have an idea of what the atmosphere will be like.”
Paul’s mum Pat, 75, and dad Bernard, 79, watched the torch pass along Bridge End Road with him and said they could not be prouder of their son.
The motorcyclist’s volunteering includes running one of the bikes, which is centred 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.
For more information, visit www.severnfreewheelers.co.uk