THE BLOG
27/07/2012 18:53 BST | Updated 25/09/2012 06:12 BST

Olympics: What's in a Flame?

I have always loved the Olympics and really wanted my troopers to experience the excitement of the greatest sporting event on earth first hand. So I tried everything I could to get tickets: I entered the ticket lotteries for the Olympics and Paralympics, and every competition to win tickets that I could find. But it was all to no avail. I could not get a single ticket. It would be fair to say I was bitterly disappointed.

But then the Olympic torch relays began. What a brilliant experience. We saw the torch at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Armed Forces Day. It was carried by war hero Corporal Johnson Beharry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2005 for saving the lives of his unit in Iraq by charging down an ambush. The band of the Irish Guards played as he carried the torch up to the steps to the Armed Forces Memorial which bears the names of 16,000 servicemen and women that have fallen since World War II.

As the flame reached the memorial, we all stopped waving flags and cheering, and instead stood in silence to mark our respect. Then Jump4Heroes (The Royal British Legion Extreme Human Flight Team) showered poppies on us from their paramotor above. I was brimming with pride.

BBC Radio Derby even had a free photo booth where we had a family picture taken against the backdrop of the Olympic stadium.

As the Olympic torch relay draws to a close today, after travelling 8000 miles in 90 days, I can honestly say that, although I wasn't able to get my unit to the Olympics, a little bit of the Olympics was able to come to us. I'd like to say a big thank you to the Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for that.