Tracey Emin To Carry Olympic Flame

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Artist Tracey Emin will carry the Olympic flame in her home town of Margate, Kent, today as it travels from Deal to Maidstone.
The London-based artist was chosen for her support in helping British talent.

She will pause briefly outside the Turner Contemporary before the torch is rowed along the River Medway in Maidstone, and past Brands Hatch.

Emin is recognised as one of the leading figures of the Young British Artists in the 1990s, an Olympic spokesman said.

tracey emin

She graduated in fine arts from the Maidstone College of Art in 1986 and was awarded an MA in painting by the Royal College of Art in 1989, as well as being shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1999.

The spokesman said: "After a difficult childhood, Tracey Emin squatted in London after dropping out of school at 13.

"This period of her life provided a strong inspiration for much of her later work."

The relay will start in Deal at 8.27am with 136 torchbearers carrying the flame 65 miles to its destination.

Katherine Batts will be the first person to carry the flame at Deal Pier.

The 52-year-old, from Strood, was nominated in recognition of her commitment to people in the Medway area and for her voluntary work as treasurer of the City of Rochester Swimming and Lifeguard Club for 14 years.

Athlete Steven Backley, 43, who will carry the flame in Ramsgate, is the only British track and field competitor to win medals at three consecutive Olympic Games.

He retired from athletics after the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and has since been involved in a number of different projects, including coaching and mentoring up-and-coming athletes.

Kiss FM breakfast show presenter Charlie Hedges, 25, who is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust, will carry the flame in Challock, while Melwyn Moore, 67, from Maidstone, has been made a torchbearer in recognition of the 21 London Marathons he has run over the past 21 years, raising money for the local community.

Torchbearer Joseph Smith, 78, hit the headlines when he became the oldest Briton to swim the English Channel at the age of 65.

The Olympic spokesman said: "He was nominated by swimmers around the globe in recognition of his life-long work and dedication to swimming and his many epic contributions in the field of long distance and open water events.

"Having earned respect from a multitude of environs in the community, well known for his charitable work, especially within the field of sport and swimming for young disabled people, raising much cash for them along the way, it is impossible to list all Joe's many offerings within this limited space.

"He is a much-valued volunteer at the Dover Museum, having spent time over the past seven years researching the history of channel swimming for them, putting on record what has proved to be of universal interest on the internet."

The flame will also be carried through the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral before it travels to Leeds Castle in Maidstone where foster carer Julia Chilcott will be the final torchbearer of the day.