Hero Ben to carrry olympic torch

Former Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson at home in Bessacarr.
Former Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson at home in Bessacarr.
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south Yorkshire war hero Ben Parkinson will be carrying the Olympic flame next summer after all.

The injured soldier has finally learned he will be an Olympic torchbearer in the run-up to the London 2012 Games, though he is still awaiting confirmation.

Ben’s family assumed he had not been selected when he was not among a list of names announced last week - but friends who nominated him have been informed he’s on it.

Lance Bombardier Parkinson, aged 27, who lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2006, is currently skiing in Colorado with other wounded servicemen but has been given the good news by proud mum Diane Dernie.

She said she’s ‘thrilled and proud’ to hear Ben, who lives in Doncaster, had been chosen: “He is absolutely over the moon. It is a tribute to what he’s done and this is a real target New Year for him.

“We knew Ben had been nominated and was through to the final selection and we knew it was a long shot because a lot of other wounded soldiers were nominated.

“We were a bit disappointed when his name wasn’t announced last week but we were contacted to be told that all those who had nominated him had got emails to say ‘Congratulations your candidate has got through’.”

Able-bodied torchbearers will cover a mile but disabled people will manage what they can. Mrs Dernie added: “Ben could manage half a mile on his short artificial legs but he wants to do it on long legs so we can’t say what he will do, but I can assure people it won’t just be a token distance.”