VIDEO: Stevenage disabled man chosen for Paralympic Torch Relay

A DISABLED man who has spent his life campaigning for equal rights has been chosen to take part in the Paralympic Torch Relay.

Stevenage resident Arthur Bate, who was born with cerebral palsy, will help carry the flame on Wednesday evening as it makes in way to the Olympic Stadium in time for the opening ceremony later that night.

The 53-year-old has highlighted inequalities that those with disabilities face through his voluntary work and was nominated through the Sainsbury’s Torchbearer Nomination Scheme by Stevenage-based advocacy charity POhWER.

Mr Bate helped to set up the charity in 1996 under the name of People of Hertfordshire Want Equal Rights and is still an active supporter and trustee.

The charity – which enables people to speak up and be heard – later became known as POhWER when it began working nationwide.


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“Because I was born disabled, I’ve always been a bit of a fighter,” said Mr Bate.

“Because all through my life, to get services, and where I wanted to be, I have always had to be a bit strong-willed.”

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Prior to the relay, scout groups will be ascending the highest peaks of the four home nations, creating sparks for the flame at each summit.

The 28-leg relay starts at Stoke Mandeville just outside Aylesbury at 8pm on Tuesday with Mr Bate playing his part the following night. He will carry the flame through the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham at around 8.50pm on the 26th leg, less than an hour before it reaches the Olympic Stadium.

Looking ahead to the relay, Mr Bate added: “It was wonderful, it’s brilliant, I can’t believe that I am going to do it, that I was picked out of thousands of people, it was a real honour. And when I am on the road carrying the torch, it is going to be something really special.”

* Are you taking part in the Paralympic opening ceremony? If so, call the newsdesk on 01438 866200 or email nick.gill@thecomet.net

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