St Neots teen hopes to carry Paralympic torch to kick off London 2012

A TEENAGER who is paralysed from the waist down after a sports accident says it would be an honour to be nominated to carry the Paralympic torch ahead of London 2012.

BT, who are sponsoring London 2012 are looking for teams to take the torch from Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in Buckinghamshire, which specialises in spinal injuries, to the capital’s Olympic Stadium.

Dean Symmons was playing softball in a PE lesson at Longsands Academy in June when he slipped a disc whilst swinging to hit the ball. The disc scraped his spinal cord, causing a clot which cut the blood flow to his legs.

The 16-year-old, of Swift Close, St Neots, spent four months in rehabilitation at the spinal ward in Stoke Mandeville and says that it is pertinent that the torch leaves from the hospital.

“I had a great time at Stoke (Mandeville), they taught me how to do things I could never imagine. To take the torch from the hospital would be reliving the moment for me and recognise the help they gave me,” he said.

“It’s one of my dreams to play basketball for Britain in the Paralympic games so to hold the torch would be an honour as well - not many people could say they have carried the Paralympic torch.

“I’m hoping my family will nominate me but it’s also about thanking those who have helped me and supported me throughout too.”

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The 24-hour torch relay begins on August 28 when 680 people will carry the torch 50 miles to light the Paralympic flame at the Olympic Stadium to kick off the opening ceremony.

Other sponsors Lloyds TSB have already accepted nominations for teams but Sainsbury’s are due to open their nomination process this month.

INFORMATION: To nominate your own team of five or a team you know by visit or call 08000 23 23 99. Nominators and torchbearers must be at least 12 years old and nominations must be submitted by midnight on January 20.