Proud to carry the Olympic Torch in Bedale for Magic Breakfast
Alan Mak, President & Trustee of Magic Breakfast and London2012 Olympic Torchbearer, writes exclusively for BedaleOnline!
I’m proud, excited and honoured to be carrying the Olympic Torch in beautiful Bedale on 20 June 2012 as part of the 70-day nationwide Olympic Torch Relay. It will be especially great to do so in Bedale in my home county of Yorkshire, just a few miles from my hometown of York. As a local lad born and bred in Yorkshire, there is no greater honour than carrying the Torch in front of so many of the friends, family and neighbours that I grew up with from local communities that I've known since I was young. I’m really looking forward to seeing the people of Bedale lining the streets!
Carrying the Torch in Bedale will make the experience very special. I have visited Bedale on many occasions since I was young as you are so close to York, and it’s a place I love spending time in because you have so much to offer. Warm, welcoming and friendly people. A wonderful gateway to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and some of Yorkshire's finest scenery. Bustling local shops, homely pubs and great restaurants. And above all, a great sense of community and a strong Yorkshire identity that attracts visitors from around the world. Over the years, I’ve loved wandering around the market, having afternoon tea and going for a walks in the Dales then coming back for a pub lunch. I especially love Bedale’s rich culinary tradition: real dairy ice cream from Dales herds, Yorkshire beers, pies, creamy chocolate, and Wensleydale cheese. After the Torch Relay is over, I will be sure to stay for a big lunch with Magic Breakfast’s supporters who will be coming to Bedale to cheer me on!
The Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and not only am I proud to be carrying the torch in Bedale, I am also proud to be carrying it for Magic Breakfast, the UK's leading school breakfast club charity, who nominated me. My nomination was supported by Samsung, Olympic Torch Relay sponsors, who were searching for a "Local Hero who goes the extra mile" for their community. In my case, my work for charity had caught their eye. I'm President and Trustee of Magic Breakfast, and we provide free, healthy breakfast to 6,000 British primary school children every morning in over 210 schools, including across Yorkshire focusing on inner city Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford and Rotherham. Having a good breakfast improves children's school attendance, concentration in class, and exam results, and encourages them to lead healthier lives. As the first person in my family to attend university, I know how important having a good breakfast is, and I wouldn't have got to Cambridge without overcoming challenges like hunger myself. Last year, Magic Breakfast won the Prime Minister's Big Society Award for outstanding charities, so carrying the Olympic Torch will be a great way to round off an excellent twelve months for us, and I can think of nowhere better than Bedale in the heart of Yorkshire.
The Magic Breakfast team will be staying in the Green Dragon on Market Place the night before, and I am looking forward to getting up bright an early the next morning for a briefing to meet the other Bedale Torchbearers, and then having a quick wander round Bedale to soak up the atmosphere. I’m hoping for a big crowd of local people on Bridge Street and Market Place, and really looking forward to seeing the streets lined with local people as I know this will be a great day for Bedale too. Let’s hope we have great weather!
Visit the BedaleOnline blog on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 June where I’ll be posting an exclusive blog, complete with photo, about how it felt to carry the Olympic Torch in Bedale. This will be the first place to read about it! Until then, thank you to everyone in Bedale for the support you have given me, and for hosting the Olympic Torch Relay. When I tell people about carrying the Torch in Bedale, the question I'm most asked is "What will be going through your head as you run with the Torch?" "Not dropping it” is the obvious answer. "Protecting it from gusts of wind so it doesn't blow out" also comes to mind. But most importantly, I will be thinking of the children, parents and teachers we work with at Magic Breakfast and the wonderful people of Bedale. You are all a great inspiration to me, and I will be thinking of you all when I carry the Torch!
8 ways you can support Alan in Bedale:
1. Watch Alan carry the Torch live. Come to Market Place for 11AM on Wednesday 20 June.
3. Go to Alan’s Torchbearer story on the London2012/Facebook Torch Bearer page. Tweet about it. Blog about it. “Like” it using the Facebook button in bottom right hand corner. Spread the word.
5. If you are a journalist, please help Alan tell the Magic Breakfast story on beating UK child hunger and Alan’s Olympic Torch carrying! Contact Alan on [email protected]
6. If you are interested in supporting Magic Breakfast in any way – get in touch with them on [email protected]
7. “Like” the Magic Breakfast Facebook page to show your support for our their fight against child hunger and child poverty
8. Visit the BedaleOnline blog on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 June for an exclusive blog from Alan describing what it felt like to carry the Torch!
Find out more about the Olympic Torch here.
We have everything you need to know about when the torch comes to Bedale on June 20th!