Tuesday, 29 May 2012
A Cardiff health worker who has raised tens of thousands of pounds to help fund children’s cancer care says becoming a part of the UK’s Olympic history was one of the greatest days of her life.
Lara Cowpe was up at 3am to prepare for her part in Olympic history as she carried the torch through the streets of Barry.
The occupational therapist with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said it was one of the most inspiring and amazing days of her life.
The 24-year-old said it was an emotional experience waiting for the handover and her torch to be lit.
She said: “As the torchbearer came towards me I got a bit tearful. How could this be happening to me?! This is AMAZING!!
“I set off on my stretch and family and friends were cheering me on and jogging alongside me. As I came out from under the railway bridge the noise from the crowd hit me! I did not stop smiling or waving.”
Lara was nominated by mum Marianne after raising £30,000 in just eight years for the Teenage Cancer Trust after beating the disease herself as a youngster.
She was one of the lucky people chosen to take part in the Olympic flame relay during its 70 day UK tour.
Lara was at the Millennium Stadium by 4.30am for her briefing where she was told that her torch had been bought for her by Samsung, the company through which she was nominated.
The Dinas Powys resident said the whole experience was unforgettable. She said: “On the bus, the torchbearers all shared their stories. Honestly, I was among some amazing inspirational people and some of their stories really touched me.
“As the convoy set off, I had butterflies in my stomach. People had got up during the early hours of the morning to line the streets, some in their pyjamas, just for us.
“The streets of Dinas Powys were packed which was lovely to see and I was able to wave from the bus at loads of people I knew.
“As I got off the bus in Barry I was greeted by friends and family and members of the public. It was so exciting - everyone was wishing me luck, saying I deserved it and wanted their pictures taken with me. “
Lara completed her role in Olympic history and rejoined other torch bearers on the bus before heading off to a family celebration to mark the occasion.
She said: “That was the perfect way to end the most inspiring and truly amazing day of my life.”
Paul Hollard, Interim Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale UHB, said: “Lara is an excellent ambassador for the health board showing great compassion and dedication in her work and private life.
“We are very proud of her achievements and glad her efforts have been recognised in such a remarkable way.”