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Olympic Torch Honour For Royal Marine Amputee

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A Royal Marine who lost an arm and both legs when he stood on a landmine in Afghanistan described carrying the Olympic Torch today as a "humbling experience".

Mark Ormrod is a triple amputee who was told he would never walk again after he was badly injured on Christmas Eve 2007 while serving with 40 Commando.

The former Royal Marine, from Plymstock, Plymouth, Devon, has defied doctors to become an inspiration for many people with his charity work.

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Torchbearer 014 Mark Ormrod carrying the Olympic flame on the leg between Plymouth and Modbury

The 28-year-old compared carrying the Olympic Torch with the completion of his gruelling 3,500-mile charity run across America two years ago.

The married father-of-one, who now works for the Royal Marines Association, and a team of Royal Marines completed the eight-week coast-to-coast journey named the "Gumpathon" in aid of injured service personnel.

"It's on the same level," he said.

"Anything to do with representing my country is a really big thing for me.

"It's something I've always wanted to do and would love to continue doing.

"In fact, this probably ranks slightly higher than that and I am just proud to be a part of it."

Mr Ormrod added: "'Humbled' is the world I would use. Humbled at all the people that contacted me to say they had nominated me and then to get selected.

"It is a humbling experience and hopefully I'll do Plymouth and England proud."

Mr Ormrod, who carried the flame from Finnigan Road to Sugar Mill Business Park in Plymouth, said he was incredibly nervous ahead of his big moment.

Speaking at the Plymouth Life Centre, he said: "It's all real now.

"We came in here this morning and being greeted by all these people - it's finally starting to hit home now."

Mr Ormrod and the other Plymouth torchbearers were at the new £46.5 million leisure centre for a ceremony to light the first torch to mark the start of day two of the relay.

"Now that it's starting it's a really exciting time," he said.

"I'm a little bit nervous now. I wasn't until I walked out here and saw all these people that I wasn't expecting.
"I'm looking forward to it. It's a very proud day."

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Flame on: Torchbearer 001 Jordan Anderton with the Olympic flame between Plymouth and Modbury

This year Mr Ormrod - nicknamed 'Rammers' - has set himself the challenge of cycling nearly 3,000 miles round the British coastline.

The event - Tour de Forces - will raise money for four military charities and sets off from Plymouth in September for the anti-clockwise circumnavigation.

Mr Ormrod and his team will run, cycle and hand cycle their way around the coast of the country.

A total of 8,000 torchbearers are carrying the Olympic Flame 8,000 miles over 70 days to where it will light the cauldron at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games.

The second day of the relay started at the Plymouth Life Centre at 8.07am when the flame began its journey out of the city.

Jordan Anderton, 18, from Ivybridge, was the first bearer to carry on the torch on its Sunday relay.

The teenager, who wore the number 001, said: "I'm quite nervous actually but very excited.

"It is such a great honour to have the opportunity to carry the Olympic Torch and be a part of history."

Describing the torch, he said: "It's quite light actually - I thought it would be quite a bit heavier.

"It's quite nice to hold. It feels unreal really as I was watching it on TV yesterday and I'm here today in front of all the crowds."

The Cardiff Metropolitan University student, who also plays rugby for Ivybridge RFC, was nominated after surviving a very rare form of childhood cancer at the age of 14, before raising £86,000 for charities fighting the disease.

Even early on a Sunday crowds were lining the streets out of the city to see the Olympic Torch on its way.

The Olympic Torch arrived in Plymouth on Saturday evening to a crowd of more than 40,000 people gathered on The Hoe.

Madeline Wood, 12, had the honour carrying the torch onto the stage and lighting the huge cauldron.

Earlier, chart topper Labrinth, Britain's Got Talent finalists Twist & Pulse and local dancers from Plymouth Dance entertained the huge crowds.

Councillor Michael Wright, Lord Mayor of Plymouth, said: "This has been such a wonderful experience for people in Plymouth.

"Seeing the Olympic Torch carried by our inspirational torchbearers through the city was fantastic and I'm proud so many people turned out to cheer them on.

"The Evening Celebration on the Hoe was a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle, there was a fantastic atmosphere and what an amazing way to show off our spectacular waterfront to the world."

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Lighting the way: Jordan Anderton with the world-famous torch

Hundreds had lined the Tamar Bridge to watch the torch carried into Devon after a day-long relay brought it across Cornwall.

Duncan Goodhew carried the torch in South East Cornwall and six of the Military Wives were among those carrying the torch in Plymouth.

Communities stretching from Plymouth to Exeter will see dozens of unsung and hard-working individuals get their moment in the spotlight.

ALSO SEE:
London 2012: Olympic Flame Arrives In Cornwall At Start Of Torch Relay

The torchbearers range in age from 12-year-old Henry De Trogoff to 72-year-old Jacques Collet.

Henry will be among the youngest of the 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame on the way to the July 27 opening ceremony.

The youngster from Paris will carry the flame through Paignton.

His nomination tells of how he tries to push his friends to make good, to be a peacemaker at school when children fight and to help with daily tasks. He does this "always with a smile," it said.

Mr Collet, of Les Noyrelles, will carry the flame through Paignton after more than 50 years as a volunteer with the French Athletism Federation.

The former junior international athlete became a trainer after getting injured and helped others at national level.

He organised the pole-vaulting masters in Grenoble, is a French Federation of Athletism Federal referee and has won the FFA Platinum award.

There is also 69-year-old great-grandmother Yvonne Budd who gets to carry the flame in her hometown of Exeter.

She has worked at Exeter Gymnastics Club since 1972 and Olympic gymnastics has been her "lifetime passion giving hundreds of children the opportunity of participation", her nomination said.

She is still actively coaching four nights a week for three hours at a time, attends competitions and remains as dedicated as ever. She has helped the club membership grow from 90 to more than 1,100 in the past 40 years.

Organisers will be hoping for a repeat of the packed-out scenes that were part of the first day excited people lined the streets in Cornwall to catch a glimpse of the torch.

The day started at Land's End with the torch in the hands of three-time Olympic sailing champions Ben Ainslie who later tweeted: "Wow. Most amazing experience and honour, awesome atmosphere. Bring on the Games."

Devon and Cornwall Police estimated there were 15,000 in Falmouth and in Truro, while there was another 5,000 in St Austell and in the centre of Newquay.

The convoy travelling with the flame is made up of 14 core vehicles, including a pilot car, torchbearer drop-off and pick-up shuttles. There are also sponsors, media and security vehicles plus a command car.

The lead convoy provides some entertainment for the crowds. The torchbearer follows about five to seven minutes later.

A crew of approximately 350 people are set to be working on each day of the 70-day relay.

The relay also relies on the work of staff from London 2012, the Metropolitan Police Torch Security Team, the sponsors plus the host police forces and town halls.

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