Local Navy Pilot to Deliver Olympic Flame
HE’S usually called into action to rescue fishermen in peril or pluck injured holidaymakers from cliffs.
But on Saturday, navy pilot Lieutenant Chris Whittington will be flying with a very different cargo.
The 27-year-old from Stubbington will be in the cockpit to deliver the Olympic Torch to Land’s End as it begins an 8,000-mile tour of the UK.
The flame will arrive at Culdrose naval air station in Cornwall on Friday evening and Chris will take it to Land’s End at 7am Saturday.
He told The News: ‘It’s a very proud moment. It’s humbling to be involved when you think about how many athletesand inspirational people are taking part in the relay.
‘It’s a real honour and will definitely be a highlight of my career.’
The former Crofton School pupil joined the navy eight years ago after completing his A-levels at St Vincent College. He will be waved off from Culdrose by his wife Nicola and their two-year-old son, Steven.
The search and rescue pilot said it was ‘a case of right place, right time’ that he was chosen to transport the flame with three colleagues from 771 Naval Air Squadron.
He joked: ‘Also, they had to find people who wouldn’t mind getting up really early on a Saturday.’
Chris said the enormity of the task was just dawning on them, adding: ‘I don’t think any of us knew what to expect when we were first told about it. We all thought “that’s a cool bit of cargo to be carrying” but now with all the pressure and media interest, the spotlight is firmly on us and it’s getting a bit nerve-wracking.
‘We are used to high-pressure situations due to our work and we are obviously trainedto deal with that in our day-to-day business.
‘But this is a different kind of pressure because the whole world will be watching us. It’s a simple task, but it’s potentially one of the most important landings of my life.’
He said part of the challenge will be to keep the flame lit during the 50-mile flight to Land’s End.
After it is handed to Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie, the Torch will be carried across the UK for 70 days leading up to the LondonGames.
The flame comes to Fareham, Gosport, and Portsmouthon July 15 when chart-toppers Rizzle Kicks lead ing celebrations with an free evening concert on Southsea Common. The Torch will leave for Brightonthe following day.
SOURCE – The Portsmouth News – http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/navy-pilot-will-get-olympic-flame-off-to-a-flying-start-1-3847211
Rizzle Kicks have been confirmed for the celebrations when the Olympic Torch comes to our great city.
The two-hour celebration will take place on Southsea common on July 15th. The show will also feature local singers, dancers, entertainers and sports stars so make sure you get involved and show your support for local talent.
Portsmouth has been chosen as an overnight stopping point for the torch when it arrives in the city from Jersey, before leaving for Brighton the following day.
Rizzle Kicks said: ‘We can’t wait to bring our live show to Coca-Cola’s evening celebrations for the Olympic torch relay. Just being part of the Olympics is buzzing and to be involved with all the young people who are running the Olympic Flame is something we’re really excited about.’
For details on how to attend the celebration visit london2012.com/join-in/whats-on