Teen hopes Olympic torch nomination will inspire others

An Ottery teen hopes to inspire other youngsters after being told he will be an Olympic torchbearer this summer.

Anton Ashcroft, 15, is one of 8,000 people who will help carry the torch on its 70-day journey around Britain ahead of the London 2012 games.

He was nominated by his mum Kim after his work as a youth leader with the Scouts, and his involvement in trying to build a skatepark in Ottery.

She said she never expected her son would get chosen, and was thrilled when they where told he would be given the chance to carry it.

They were notified a month ago, but were ordered not to let it slip, and the family admitted this has been difficult, with Anton saying he was relived to finally be able to tell his friends

He said: “I have almost told people loads of times.

“Its such an amazing honour to carry the torch.”

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Anton, who lives in West Hill with his parents and older brother Kurt, will be part of the team which carries the Olympic torch through Exeter’s streets on May 20.

This is the second day of its 70-day journey around the country, starting at Land’s End, through 1,000 cities, towns and villages, ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony on July 27.

The King’s School pupil’s nomination was boosted by his work with disabled children at an outdoor activity centre in Exeter last summer.

And he wanted to thank Ottery Scouts, who put him in charge of the East Devon Explorers’ team in the Ten Tors challenge last year, and who gave him the chance to be a youth leader at Tipton St John cubs.

Anton said this experience has really motivated him, and he hopes by setting an example to the children by carrying the Olympic torch, he will inspire them to do more too.

He has also been a driving force behind a group of teenagers in Ottery trying to get a skatepark built behind the school, which finally has funding, and is hoping to do his leg of the journey on his beloved skateboard.

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