The UK’s oldest full time firefighter has been selected to carry the Olympic torch.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s Malcolm Styles will go against his training and keep the flame burning as he carries the torch on 17 July* in Felbridge.
The 63-year-old is among 7,600 people confirmed as torchbearers by Olympic organisers** today (19 March).
He has been a firefighter for 34 years and is currently based at Surrey’s fire HQ in Reigate.
Mr Styles said: “Being selected was a surprise as I had no idea my partner had nominated me. I feel very proud, it’s a real honour and I’m looking forward to carrying the torch for the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.
“I’m on call a lot during the Olympics but I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of the road race as it goes through the county on the opening weekend of the Games.”
A keen sportsman, he has represented the fire service in football, rugby and cricket and won a gold medal for table tennis at the World Firefighter Games in New Zealand.
After losing his wife to cancer in 1997 he raised £40,000 for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity through a sports memorabilia auction and other fundraising events.
This included cycling the famous coast-to-coast ride on mountain bikes with colleagues from Sunbury Fire Station.
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety said: “Malcolm has served at all ranks and is an outstanding member of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. Firefighters truly are our local heroes. They risk their lives to keep us safe and it’s only right that they should be representing Surrey and Britain at such a high profile global event.”
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and the 2012 Games, said: “The Torch Relay will bring the magic of the Olympics to the heart of Surrey and will celebrate inspirational people like Malcolm who make a huge contribution to the local community.”
The Surrey streets which the Olympic Flame will travel down were also revealed by LOCOG** today. People can visit www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay for street-by-street details and proposed start times for when the torch will be in each part of Surrey.
The flame will pass through Egham and Felbridge on 10 and 17 July respectively. It will then return to the county on 20 July and go through Godstone, Bletchingley, Redhill, Reigate, Dorking, Westcott, Shere and Godalming before reaching Guildford at about 6pm for a night of celebrations in Stoke Park.
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For more information, journalists can contact Surrey County Council media officer Nicole Herlihy on 020 8541 8039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Surrey County Council performs the role of fire authority.
*Torchbearers will find out the exact time and location of where they will carry the torch nearer the time.
**The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for preparing and staging the 2012 Games.