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Miracle recovery teenager to carry Olympic torch

Sixteen year old Connor Rowntree with his parents Carol and Neil at their Herrington home  a year after he was badly burned in a fire at his cousin's home in St Matthew Terrace, Newbottle.

Sixteen year old Connor Rowntree with his parents Carol and Neil at their Herrington home a year after he was badly burned in a fire at his cousin's home in St Matthew Terrace, Newbottle.

A BRAVE teenager who defied the odds to make a miracle recovery from horrendous burns has been chosen as an Olympic torchbearer.

Connor Rowntree, from Houghton, is among 8,000 inspirational figures of all ages who have been chosen to carry the flame on routes across the country.

The 17-year-old underwent more than 100 operations and skin grafts over a 14-month period after an aerosol prank went wrong.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Proud mum Carol said she is “over the moon” that her son will carry the flame in Berwick-upon-Tweed on June 14.

“The whole family will be going up to see him,” she said. “Ideally, he would be carrying it through Sunderland, but Berwick was the only available slot.

“But it will still be a very special day. We’re so proud of him.”

The flame arrives in the UK from Greece on May 18, beginning a 70-day trip from Land’s End the next day and arriving in London for the opening ceremony of the Games on July 27.

Each person was nominated for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by someone who admires them, with organisers and sponsors making the final decision on who gets to do a 300-metre stint.

In Sunderland, a total of 29 people will carry the torch on June 16, Day 29 of the relay, following a route through Whitburn, before heading along the coast at Seaburn, through the Sunderland Aquatic Centre, along Fawcett Street and on to Chester Road.

It will then head through a “Sunderland in 2012” celebration event at Herrington Country Park, before leaving past Penshaw Monument.

Katie Williamson, from Biddick, Washington, was chosen for her charity work.

The 17-year-old has a neurological disorder, idiopathic intracranial hypertension, which causes pressure around the brain.

Sufferers can have headaches, nausea as well as vomiting. If untreated, it may lead to swelling of the optic disc in the eye, which can lead to loss of vision.

Katie is youth representative of the charity Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension UK, which provides information and support for patients, families and medical professionals.

Katie said: “I’m looking forward to carrying the torch. It’s really exciting.”

Months of meticulous planning went into making sure the flame comes within 10 miles of almost everyone in Britain.

An average of 115 torchbearers a day will carry the flame, which hops around Britain’s mainland as well as the islands — the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Guernsey, Jersey, Shetlands, Orkneys and the Isle of Lewis.

In Durham, fundraiser Daniel Miller, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, will carry the flame on June 17.

The 17-year-old, from Great Lumley, has supported the Grace House Appeal in aid of a new a children’s hospice in Sunderland, completing the three-mile Race For Grace at Herrington Country Park.

The former pupil at St Robert of Newminster School, in Washington, has also climbed Latrigg fell, in the Lake District, in an adapted wheelchair.

For a full list of torchbearers, visit www.london2012.com.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho

 

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