Olympic torch carried by determined Parkinson's patient
- 21 May 2012
- From the section UK
The Olympic torch has been carried by a man with Parkinson's Disease, who got out of his wheelchair and walked the last few paces with the help of two police security guards.
Olympian Jonathan Edwards, rapper Will.i.am and England cricketer Marcus Trescothick also carried the torch.
Earlier the flame went out while attached to a wheelchair.
The torch was attached to the side of David Follett 's wheelchair in Great Torrington, Devon, at the time.
Olympic organisers Locog said it was due to a "malfunctioning burner" and a replacement flame was brought from the convoy of vehicles accompanying the torch.
Locog said: "It is not uncommon for a flame to go out and this can happen for a number of reasons, for example, in extreme winds.
"We keep the mother flame in specially designed miners' lanterns so if the flame does go out for some reason on the relay we relight it from the source of the flame."
Games ambassador and Locog member Edwards carried his torch through Ilfracombe where he grew up, and after his run he planned to take the torch to show pupils at his former school.
"When I was brought up here I never anticipated I would go to the Olympic Games or win a gold medal, let alone come back here with an Olympic torch," he told the BBC.
"It's incredible, been really special, one of the best days of my life. I saw a few people I used to know and it brought me into floods of tears.
"To run through streets that I know really well, I'm lost for words really."
The day began at 07:25 BST with Paul Giblin running from the city's Custom House and saw 113 torchbearers covering 135 miles before an evening celebration at Somerset Cricket Ground.
The 70-day relay around the UK finishes at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July.
Also carrying the torch on day three of the relay was 86-year-old Tony Hill , who ran through Barnstaple.
The former cross country champion was selected to carry the torch through Somerset ahead of the 1948 London Olympics but had to drop out when he was diagnosed with an appendicitis.
The BBC's The Voice judge Will.i.am, who is on the bill for BBC Radio 1's Hackney Weekend in June , and Somerset-born Trescothick carried the torch when it arrived at its final destination of the day, Taunton.
The streets have been lined with cheering crowds throughout the relay and Exeter officials told the BBC they were impressed with the turn-out.
Councillor Rosie Denham said: "I am genuinely shocked to see many people here. Everyone will remember it for the rest of their lives."
One teacher from Barnstaple tweeted to say that she was watching the relay online with "the few of my pupils who haven't skived", adding "#bbctorchcam has moved on, guys - get back to class!".
In Minehead 91-year-old Arthur Gilbert , carried the torch. He completed his most recent triathalon in 2011 at the age of 90. He received an MBE from Prince Charles in 2008 for his work for charity.
Devon and Cornwall Police tweeted that around 270,000 people had turned out to see the torch in their counties since Friday.
On Saturday a torch used on day one of the relay appeared for sale on eBay , prompting criticism on social media platforms and calls for action to be taken to stop such sales.
Since then, dozens of Olympic torches have appeared for sale online, with some bearers hoping to make money for their chosen charity with prices ranging from several hundred pounds to £100,000.
On Sunday a London 2012 spokesperson said: "The torch and uniform are the torchbearer's to do what they want with, we hope they find a good home."
A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame on its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 27 July.
It is being borne by members of the public, young and old, who were nominated for their achievements, sporting contributions and community work.
Each of the torchbearers will run with the flame for about 300m before lighting the next bearer's torch in a "kiss".
Officers from the Torch Security Team, co-ordinated by the Metropolitan Police, are accompanying the runners throughout the relay.