Shot Pc's daughter in Torch tribute

Daily Echo: Mia Rathband, daughter of Pc David Rathband, carrying the Olympic Flame whilst blindfolded Mia Rathband, daughter of Pc David Rathband, carrying the Olympic Flame whilst blindfolded

The daughter of hero Pc David Rathband surprised her family by carrying the Olympic Torch blindfolded in his memory.

The traffic officer, who lost his sight when gunman Raoul Moat shot him, had been selected to run with the flame, but he was found hanged at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, in February.

His 13-year-old daughter Mia ran in his place and decided to don a blindfold for her leg of the relay in Whitburn, South Tyneside.

Afterwards her mother, Kath Rathband, told Tyne Tees Television: "I couldn't believe how brave she is. From the moment she took her first stride the sun started shining. I told her how proud I was of her. I couldn't believe it she took it upon herself to do that blindfolded."

Mrs Rathband said the event was "bittersweet".

"It should have been David lifting the Olympic Torch but it is a huge honour for Mia," she said. "It's something that she felt really passionate about. She wanted to do this in honour of her dad."

The torch started its 98-mile trip from Gateshead to Durham - via Sunderland and Hexham, Northumberland - when Richard Jackson abseiled with it down the side of the Sage Music Centre.

It was carried to South Shields where 10,000m double Olympic gold winner Haile Gebrselassie ran with his friend, the Olympic bronze medal winner Brendan Foster. Together they crossed the site of the Great North Run finishing line - the half marathon race which Foster devised - in front of a large crowd.

Afterwards the Ethiopian said: "I think it was a photo finish. It was an amazing atmosphere and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone involved. The Olympics isn't just about winning medals, it's about people coming together and taking part. It was fantastic to be back running in the North East in front of these big crowds."

Foster said: "It was great to give Haile Gebrselassie such a wonderful taste of the Olympic spirit. This was an honour and a privilege to cross the Great North Run finishing line with one of the world's leading Olympians and for us both to be carrying the Olympic torch."

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree