Olympic twist for Sunderland school sports day

Five year - olds Lucie Willis and Anna Hope admire the Olympic Torch at Mill Hill Primary school, Sunderland, with Torch Bearer Gareth Capstick during the school sports day.
Five year - olds Lucie Willis and Anna Hope admire the Olympic Torch at Mill Hill Primary school, Sunderland, with Torch Bearer Gareth Capstick during the school sports day.
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A SCHOOL sports day began with considerably more pomp and circumstance than usual thanks to an Olympic torchbearer.

Gareth Capstick, 31, who carried the torch into Herrington Country Park, was on hand to lead the young competitors out of their classrooms to the playground.

Children and their parents were delighted by the torch’s presence and many held it and had their picture taken with it.

Assistant headteahcer Allison Middleton was delighted to have had the opportunity to bring a little of the Olympic magic to the school’s big day and said the children went home delighted at having seen a piece of sporting history.

She said: “We’ve had a fantastic day. All the children have gone home buzzing about it.

“Gareth went around to each class, collected the children and brought them to the playground where the games took place.

“They’ve all had their picture taken with the torch and they were holding it and asking Gareth lots of questions.”

Some of the people lucky enough to have carried the torch on its journey around Britain have cashed in on their piece of sporting memorabilia, but it would seem Gareth derives more pleasure from sharing his experience with as many in the community as possible.

He said: “I really enjoyed it, especially seeing the younger children’s reactions. It was as if they were seeing something really special, which of course, they were.

“If I’m honest, seeing their faces was better than seeing the reactions of people on the day itself. If we can get as many children to see it as possible, then all the better.”

Gareth, who was chosen to carry the torch as an employee of energy company EDF’s Doxford Park centre, will be visiting other schools throughout the coming weeks and is enjoying his moment in the limelight.

He said: “A lot of the children were saying to me I’m famous. Of course, you’re not but to them, I suppose you are in a way.

“It’s changed my life. It’s a privilege, albeit short-lived.”

Twitter: @sunechomark