Sunderland disability campaigner will carry the Olympic torch

Claire Parker, of Hendon, Sunderland, who has been offered a place carrying the Olympic Flame.
Claire Parker, of Hendon, Sunderland, who has been offered a place carrying the Olympic Flame.
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DISABILITY rights campaigner Claire Parker is celebrating after being offered the chance to become an Olympic torchbearer.

The partially-sighted 31-year-old is one of 8,000 people who are set to carry the famous flame next summer.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holds aloft the Olympic Flame.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holds aloft the Olympic Flame.

The torch will be visiting Sunderland ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Claire, from Hendon, was nominated by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), after becoming a voice for disabled people on Wearside.

A tireless upholder of disabled people’s rights, Claire worked with bosses at Nexus to make Metro announcements more user-friendly for visually-impaired travellers.

She is also helping Northumbria Police with a campaign to stamp out inconsiderate parking, and marched on Downing Street as part of massive anti-cuts protests in May.

Claire, who lives in Corporation Road, said she was shocked to find out she had been nominated.

“I was just really surprised,” she said. “I did not really think I had done that much.

“I did not think I had done something to deserve it.”

Henri Murison, who nominated Claire, said: “All of us in the Campaigns Team at RNIB are really glad Claire has been chosen to carry the Olympic Flame.

“I nominated Claire because her tireless volunteer work arguing for improved audio announcements on Metro, to standing up with the police against inconsiderate pavement parking, has been helping make Sunderland a place blind and partially-sighted people can live more independently.

“Born and bred in the city, we know she’ll be particularly proud as the torch will of course go through Sunderland on Saturday, June 16, thanks to the campaign by the Echo and politicians like Julie Elliott MP, who raised the matter at Prime Minister’s Questions when it looked like Sunderland had missed out.”

Claire’s husband Tony’s cousin, Katie Williamson, from Washington, has also received a conditional offer from Olympic organisers.

Twitter: @janethejourno