South Scotland

Olympic cauldron lighter Callum Airlie's 'incredible' birthday

Callum Airlie (pictured left) along with six other young athletes and Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave
Image caption Callum Airlie (left) was one of seven promising young athletes chosen to light the Olympic Cauldron

A Scottish teenager has described his "incredible" birthday night after helping to light the Olympic Cauldron at the opening ceremony in London.

Sailor Callum Airlie, from Berwickshire, was celebrating his 17th birthday as he performed the task along with six other young British athletes.

Callum was nominated to undertake the honour by double Olympic gold medal-winning sailor Shirley Robertson.

He later tweeted: "That was such an incredible birthday night!"

Each of the seven promising young athletes had been chosen to perform the task by a British Olympic hero.

Callum, a two-time Optimist UK national champion, ran around the Olympic Stadium track along with the other teenagers after being passed the flame by Sir Steve Redgrave.

The group was joined by the seven Olympic heroes - including Sir Steve - for the final lighting of the cauldron.

They each lit a single tiny flame, igniting 205 copper "petals", one for each competing nation or territory.

After being ignited, the petals rose on long stems to converge and form a cauldron signifying unity and peace.

Just hours later Callum, who is a member of East Lothian Yacht Club, flew out to Austria to take part in the 420 World Championships at Lake Neusiedl.

He later described what it was like rehearsing for the ceremony with the other potential stars of the future

"We kind of made up the routine as we went along, just seeing how it would work, what was comfortable," he said.

"It was all about just us being ourselves essentially."

His mother Julie Robson described the experience as "absolutely amazing but totally surreal".

She said: "I think it is a case of feelings are beyond description - proud does not touch it.

"I think I will watch it a couple of times to know that it was not a dream and it was him. I think he is a bit like that."

After the special event all the young athletes were excited and "glowing but still very level-headed about it," according to Ms Robson.

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