Olympic torchbearers offered places for 2012 relay

Some 6,800 of the 8,000 people who will carry the Olympic flame are being offered torchbearer roles via email.

About 37,000 people applied for the role through the Olympic organisers, Locog, with 28,000 making it through to selection by regional panels.

Other runners on the relay, covering 8,000 miles around the UK from 19 May 2012, will take places from sponsors.

About 110 people per day will carry the torch,which will also visit Dublinas an extra stop on 6 June.

The1,018 other places it will visit en routewere set out in November.

In addition to the offers being made on Thursday, a further 1,200 offers will be made by the end of January 2012.

Among these will be 212 people who will be aged 12 at the time of the torch relay and 115 high profile torchbearers and community role models, selected by Locog.

Historical event

The nomination programmes run by Locog, Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung earlier this year focused on recognising and rewarding people with a story of personal achievement and or contribution to the local community.

Rachel Nafzger, who is blind, was nominated to be a torchbearer by Coca-Cola, one of the sponsors of the relay.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast she said: "I still can't quite believe it, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, isn't it absolutely, to be involved in such a historical event."

Miss Nafzger, who hopes to run with her guide dog, said she was nominated because of her involvement in volunteer work.

"I did some voluntary work at home then moved away to university down in Plymouth, because I wanted to push myself to be as independent as I possibly could, became a project leader then vice-president of the uni's volunteer society.

Image caption The Olympic torch will be taken on a cable car ride over Matlock Bath

"I am quite honoured to be able to represent my uni. They have done so much for me and also to be able to represent all the thousands of students that do the same as me."

Mick Riding, 55, from North Shields, was nominated by his wife Annette for his work at a hockey club for boys, some with challenging backgrounds.

He told the BBC: "It is top dollar. I'm not quite sure what phrase to use. Put it this way, I remember the 1966 World Cup, and this is going to be bigger than that."

Inspirational stories

As a former Olympian Jonathan Edwards, who won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, has been nominated as a torchbearer by the British Olympic Association.

He said: "It's really exciting, Rachel's a great example of what a torchbearer will be, inspirational stories, the strap line is 'a moment to shine', from the people who carry the torch and also places it goes to as it goes around the UK."

Talking about the torch relay, which he described as an "incredible logistical exercise", he said: "It's going to be very special.

"We are going to have people running through their local communities, nominated by people who live there, so it's going to be a great local celebration as well as this national and international event heralding our Games."

People who have been offered a place as a torchbearer must now follow a number of steps including accepting the date they have been allocated, providing required documentation, confirming their uniform size and any access requirements by 25 January.

Background checks still have to be carried out before final confirmation of becoming a torchbearer is sent out by Locog by March.

Final confirmation of places will include the name of the town, village, city, or London borough through which the torchbearer will carry the Olympic flame.

Much closer to the time, details of the exact 300m stretch of the torch relay route the torchbearer will run will be provided.

Mountain railway

Sebastian Coe, chair of Locog, said: "The Olympic torch relay genuinely provides this country with its moment to shine. The torchbearers will demonstrate the Olympic spirit is alive and well across the UK."

He also said Locog was "overwhelmed" by the nominations received and the "extraordinary breadth" of the applicants' stories.

Among those also being offered the chance to carry the Olympic flame is Moira Starkey, 84, from Storridge, Herefordshire, who at 83 completed her first fundraising marathon by completing laps of her village hall.

Matt Short, 20, from Paddock Wood near Tonbridge, Kent, who was diagnosed in 2007 with a rare form of bone cancer and has since set up and runs a charity to raise money for research into the disease,has also been invited to be a torchbearer.

He coaches football for local children and is a student at Leicester University.

Hannah Jarrett from Bridgend is another successful nominee.

She has medical conditions including type one diabetes and has raised more than £2,000 for diabetes research in the last two years.

She told the BBC she was "overwhelmed" to be offered a place and said it would be a positive thing for the torch to visit Bridgend, which has seen recent negative coverage over suicide among young people.

She added: "It's a great honour to carry it. You'd never think you'd be out there running with the torch in your hand.

"it will be really great to carry it through my home town with friends and family supporting me."

The Olympic flame is lit in Olympia, Greece, and it is due to arrive in the UK on 18 May 2012 for the traditional curtain-raiser to the Games.

The relay begins at Land's End and, after travelling around the nations and regions of the UK, ends at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in time for the opening ceremony of the Games on 27 July 2012.

In November it was revealed that the torch will fly on a zip wire across the Tyne Bridge, ascend Snowdon on the mountain railway and visit landmarks like the Giant's Causeway, Loch Ness and Stonehenge on its journey.

Nominations for torchbearers closed in June and Locog rejected 9,000 initial applications for its 2,012 places that were duplicates, incomplete or did not comply with the terms and conditions.

The remaining 28,000 were reviewed anonymously by regional panels.

The three sponsors of the torch relay each ran their own selection process.

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