Norfolk Christians honoured with Olympic Torch
Several members of the Norfolk Christian community will be Olympic Torchbearers this Wednesday and Thursday. Here are their stories and where you can go and support them.
aged 26, is studying for a Masters degree in Climate Change and International Development at the University of East Anglia,
having also completed a first degree at UEA.
Since arriving in the UK Melissa has worked for Christian Aid, and raised £330k with matched funding from the EU for her home country of Burkina Faso by undertaking fundraising including a triathalon and half marathon and giving talks about her country and the challenges it faces to schools and the media.
Melissa attended the Climate Change summit in Copenhagen as a delegate for Burkina Faso and even met President Obama. She won the British Council's Shine Award for International Student award in 2010. She was selected from 1300 students from 120 countries. She is a fantastic ambassador for her country and UEA.
Melissa said: “I cannot stop praising God for such a blessing, it is indeed one moment in a lifetime, that I will never forget. I will lift the torch high as an ambassador of Christ.”
Melissa will be running in Norwich on July 4 from Aylsham Rd to St Martins Rd, starting at 6.15pm.
YMCA Norfolk Fundraising and Communications Manager, Susie Knights was nominated for her commitment to raising funds for the YMCA in Norfolk and in particular for a £1m appeal, which has now been achieved, towards 40 move-on accommodation units.
“I am delighted and slightly overwhelmed to have been nominated and most surprised to be chosen to take part in such an amazing event. I am really looking forward to celebrating this once in a lifetime opportunity," said Susie, who will be carrying the Torch on Thursday morning, July 5, around 7.20am on Ketts Hill towards Plumstead Road.
"I was fortunate to attend the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and was blown away by the passion and excitement that such an event brings and am looking forward to having a small part to play in an event that brings the world together," said Susie.
Read our full story about Susie
Blind Norwich church minister, Rev Simon Stokes was nominated for the difference he has made to the community through his church and non-church work.
Simon, who is now vicar of Sprowston with Beeston St. Andrew, said: “I am excited and honoured to be taking part in the Torch Relay in Norwich. I will be completing my part along with Tigger and with my family there to support me.”
Simon has been key to community engagement in Bowthorpe both in his church role and as a governor of two local schools, involvement with the Bowthorpe Community Trust and through bringing the Newday Christian youth team to the area.
He will be carrying the Torch on Wednesday July 4, at 6.37pm from outside City Hall and The Forum along St Peter’s Street to the Chapelfield shopping mall.
Read our full story about Simon
Inspirational former Norwich Housing Services Manager Eddie Pleban, who was given only 48 hours to live by doctors after suffering a stroke during a flight from Australia, is set to carry the Olympic Torch through the Royal Sandringham Estate on Wednesday July 4.
Eddie has made a remarkable recovery from the debilitating stroke which left him paralysed below the neck and unable to breathe for himself, swallow or talk. And he has pledged that by July 4 he will be able to walk again when carrying the Torch.
From being on a ventilator in a Dubai hospital and then being medically evacuated to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, Eddie fought for his life during a courageous eight-month battle. He returned to his home and devoted wife Jeannie on Colman Road in Norwich last September and has been inspiring family, friends and medical staff ever since with his iron determination and strong Christian faith.
“For me carrying the torch will be a great honour as it’s a landmark in my recovery,” said Eddie. “To think that a year ago I was literally hanging onto life not knowing whether I would walk or talk again. God has been my strength during the last year, always there in the darkest despair. I often think now about the footsteps in the sand story. I know now what it is like first hand to be carried and loved by Jesus. I also know that I am now walking beside him, albeit with sticks, and every so often I know that I can reach out and hold on to Him.
“As soon as I knew that I would carry the torch I was determined that come July 4, I would walk at least part of the course,” said Eddie, “and I hope to do the last few metres on foot carrying the torch so maybe the end will be great.”
Eddie will be carrying the Olympic Flame at the Sandringham Estate. He will start at 2.09pm on Wolferton Road near the entrance to the car park along to the Norwich Gate.
Read our full story about Eddie
Norwich trainee solicitor and Christian Sarah Goring, aged 26, was nominated for her voluntary work with Kingscare in Norwich at Kings Church which provides food, washing facilities and conversation to homeless and disadvantaged people in the city.
She has also helped to run the Loose Change Theatre group aimed at homeless or disadvantaged people. Sarah is a collection volunteer for the RNLI, has helped to run the radiate youth group and worked with the NewDay community work project in Mile Cross.
Sarah is now looking to work with a human rights charity in Laos which is trying to stop human trafficking.
Sarah will carry the Olympic Flame on Wednesday July 4 in Aylsham at 5.32pm from White Hart Street near Oakfield Road, past Aylsham Methodist Church, to Red Lion Street.
Read our full story about Sarah
You can follow live BBC coverage of the Torch Relay in Norfolk online at www.bbc.co.uk/torchrelay , also on big screen at The Forum and the Chapelfield Park celebration.
Full details of the Torch relay and other Torchbearers can be found here