by STACEY HEANEY
Seven members of Lisburn Gladiators Fencing Club ran the Olympic Torch relay last week in various locations across Northern Ireland. From back left to right: Kiara Kennedy, Alastair Mcllwee, Laurence Slater, Philip Slater. Front: Felix Tim, Alison Slater and Felicity McKee.
NO fewer that seven members of Lisburn Gladiators Fencing Club proudly took part in the Olympic Torch relay last week in various locations across Northern Ireland.
Felix Yhn, Kiara Kennedy and Felicity McKee were joined by four members of one local family, Alison Slater and her sons Laurence and Philip Slater, and Alison's nephew Alastair Mcllwee.
With the involvement of Salto gymnast Jeremy Mcllwee, Alastair's brother, that meant that five members of one local family had the privilege of carrying the Torch.
Each of the torchbearers were successfully nominated for their volunteering with Goldmark. Goldmark is administered by Volunteer Now and is aimed at promoting and recognising sports volunteering for 14 to 24 year olds. It builds on the successes of Millennium Volunteers and is partly supported by the Department of Education.
The group volunteered at the European Fencing Championships in Sheffield and the British Transplant Games and Boccia World Cup in Belfast in the Summer of 2011. It normally takes two years to achieve the 200 hour certificate and they all volunteered for 350 hours in five weeks alone.
This is along side their volunteering within Fencing either as coaches or club leaders, they all go into primary schools, scout groups and church groups and take part in mini fence sessions.
Speaking about the relay Alison Slater said: "It was awesome, even the rain couldn't •dampen the spirits. Laurence and I ran in Portadown, Laurence passed the flame onto me, lighting my torch. There were thousands of people, it was incredible.
Philip ran in Templepatrick on Thursday and even for such a small village there were hundreds of people. All the school kids were calling his name as he ran past, it was really emotional watching him.
"It's definitely something we won't forget."