Meet three people carrying Olympic Torch in Capital

James Watt and John Beaton
James Watt and John Beaton
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A MARATHON-MAD Iraq veteran, a teenage handball prodigy and a Scout-leading rugby ref will be among the Capital’s Olympic Torchbearers this summer.

As the route was unveiled for the first time, James Watt, 35, Ellie-Louise Wilson, 15, and John Beaton, 19, were named as some of the runners taking part in the procession on June 13.

They will be among an estimated 30 runners carrying the Olympic flame from Calder Road to Edinburgh Castle.

Organisers hope city residents will line the route to cheer on the torchbearers ahead of a spectacular evening celebration at the Castle.

Charity fundraiser James Watt, a support worker with A&E is an army reservist who has served with The 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most recently he pushed himself to run the Edinburgh Marathon wearing a parachute and reserve, adding some 60lb to what was already a daunting challenge and raising £2500 for the The Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust in the process.

The dad of two, from Gracemount, said: “It’s a monumental thing to be chosen to carry the Olympic Flame, I’m very proud to be a part of this year’s Games. I doubt the Olympics will be held in the UK again in my lifetime so this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Each torchbearer will carry the flame for 800 yards, a distance James should find no problem as he will have again completed the Edinburgh Marathon only weeks previously – this time in a novelty costume on behalf of the Simpsons Neo-Natal Unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Fellow torchbearer John Beaton, from South Queensferry, is also looking forward to his chance to carry the torch.

John, a modern apprentice within the Economic Development department at Edinburgh Council, was diagnosed with Asperger’s at 17,

He has displayed his own unique Olympic spirit in the face of adversity, and after years of struggling with his condition is now flourishing, refereeing Premier 2 rugby games and leading Scouts.

He said: “I was told that I’d never pass an exam or be able to handle a desk job but I’m proving everyone wrong. My dream is to one day referee a Six Nations game at Murrayfield. I’m over the moon to be given this chance to represent Scotland and carry the Olympic Torch.”

Representing her country is old hat to Liberton High pupil, Ellie-Louise, though – she is part of the Scottish handball squad.

The chatty teen, from Gilmerton, also took part in a sponsored silence last month and raised £230 for Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of her late gran, Catherine MacKay.

She said: “I feel very privileged to have been asked and I’m really excited. It’s a great honour.”

Councillor Steve Cardownie, Festivals and Events Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The Olympic Flame arriving in Edinburgh will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for residents and visitors, who I’m sure will turn out in their droves to catch a glimpse.

“Many congratulations to all those who have been selected as Torchbearers – it’s a tremendous honour to be a part of such an iconic event, with the eyes of the world on Scotland’s Capital.”

The Olympic torch will travel from Calder Road, passing through Chesser Avenue, Slateford Road, Shandon Place, Ashley Terrace, Gray’s Loan, Colinton Road, Holy Corner, Bruntsfield Place, Leven Street, Home Street, Lauriston Place, Forrest Road, George IV Bridge, Lawnmarket and Castlehill before ending at Edinburgh Castle.

Sebastian Coe, chairman of Games organiser Locog, added: “Now the people know the route the Olympic Flame will be carried along and the torchbearers for their community, they can start planning how they might celebrate and make it Edinburgh’s moment to shine.”