THE chosen few beamed with pride as they spoke of their experiences carrying the Olympic flame as it travelled through Sheffield to Rotherham yesterday.
And, while their moment in the spotlight seemed to be over in a flash, it is one which will stay with them forever.
Lucy Brunt, aged 14, from Beauchief in Sheffield was first to carry the torch as it departed Don Valley Stadium early in the morning.
The sport-loving teen, pictured right, was nominated by charity Within Reach, which encourages children with disabilities to take part in activities.
Her mum Liz, 49, said: “I feel very proud of her, it was an emotional day. The whole family came to watch, people from Lucy’s school were there. She was so excited this morning. She did a really good job.”
Rachel Wilkinson, 45, of Wybourn, nominated her son Ryan, 14, who carried the torch near Forgemasters.
Rachel said: “Ryan was born without a right hand and a partial forearm, but he has never let it stop him doing anything. He does swimming and is aiming for the Paralympics in 2016. It was very emotional watching him. I had to control my tears because I told him I’d do my best not to cry. I was shaking too much to take any pictures.”
Ryan said: “I was really nervous before, but now it’s over I’m just in a really happy mood. At the minute I feel very proud.”
Another proud parent was John Brennan, 57, of Meadowhead. His son Tom, 23, of Ecclesall, has Down’s Syndrome and is a keen sportsman and volunteers at his local church and St Luke’s Hospice shop.
John said: “Tom does a lot of sport despite also having diabetes. It was very emotional. I just couldn’t believe it was my son carrying the torch.”
Tom said: “I’m very happy and excited. It was one of the best days of my life.”
Unicef volunteer Krissie Shaw, 19, of Harthill, carried the torch as it journeyed from Doncaster Road and Herringthorpe Valley Road in Rotherham.
She said: “It was so surreal. Everyone wanted to take my picture. There were people shouting my name who I didn’t even know. My whole family were there watching, some had travelled from Bradford. They’d had special T-shirts made and they hired a photographer. They went all out. It was amazing, I got such an adrenaline high.”
Jill Newbolt, 40, an assistant at Aston Academy, carried the torch from Doncaster Gate to Clifton Park. Jill, from Kimberworth, Rotherham, said: “It was amazing to come into the park and see all the families and kids from my school waving me on.”
Medical student Peter Murray, 20, of Walkley, Sheffield, was nominated by his parents in honour of his lifelong commitment to helping transplant patients. Peter, who born with kidney failure and had a transplant at the age of three, volunteers for a support charity and has represented Great Britain at the World Transplant Games.
He said: “It was pretty unbelievable. It all happened so fast but I enjoyed every second. The crowds were really nice - as soon as I got off the bus people were shaking my hand and wishing me well. It was everything I had hoped it would be.”
Salvation Army volunteer Ryan Wileman, 29, from Ravenfield, Rotherham said: “I’ve worked for the Salvation Army for two years working with sports clubs and youth centres. I do it because it’s the right thing to do, but to get recognition for it is the icing on the cake. Money can’t buy an experience like that. I can’t describe it”
Support Dogs charity worker Rita Howson, 44, of Oughtibridge, was the final torchbearer on the final leg in Thrybergh.
She said: “I ran along in a daze. You cannot believe all these people are there cheering for you. My family were there, and my colleagues brought all the assistance dogs along to watch.”