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Crowds stay up late for Flackwell Heath torch bearers
FIVE torch bearers feared the crowds will have gone to bed by the time they began their leg with the Paralympic flame last night.
But the quintet from Flackwell Heath said “thousands upon thousands” of people stayed up until 1.30am to see them carry the torch down Berkhamsted High Street.
The leg was part of a 24-hour relay from Stoke Mandeville Stadium to the Olympic Stadium in east London.
Bruce Jacob, 45, John Hagues, 52, Neil Ralphson, 40, Treve Ripley, 46, and Jasmine Boffin, 14, were chosen to carry the torch after their fundraising efforts for a special school in Aylesbury.
Bruce, who owns Daisy Gift Shop in Swains Lane, said: “It was meant to be 11.58pm on the dot but it got delayed and we were hanging around and thought there would be no crowds left.
“But when the torch arrived this noise just erupted and the whole of the high street was just thick with people. Some were hanging out windows....You had grandmas, babies, toddlers and everyone screaming.
“We had to do nearly 300 metres each and it was totally and utterly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can’t compare it to anything I’ve experienced before, it was just incredible.”
The dads have raised thousands of pounds for the Pace Centre in Aylesbury by completing several long-distance cycle journeys.
The connection comes through Jasmine’s 12-year-old brother Charlie who attends the school, which helps children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy.
Their dad Andy Boffin has been part of the cycling team and carried the Olympic torch in Cardiff in May.
Next month they are set to cycle 500 miles from Bilbao to Barcelona. To donate cash visit: www.justgiving.com/FBB2012