Colne teenager will be Olympic torch bearer

A PENDLE teenager will soon be recognised on a global scale after becoming just one of 10 youngsters picked nationally to be an ambassador for the London 2012 Olympics on behalf of Coca-Cola.

All eyes will be on 17-year-old Lizzie Stansfield, of Skipton Road, Colne, who was picked from tens of thousands of young people to be a Future Flame after she was put forward by Pendle Leisure Trust, where she works as a volunteer.

The role will see her represent and promote youth volunteering all over the country, and will give her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bear the iconic Olympic flame, which will be lit in just over a year’s time.

Already the spotlight is on Lizzie, who made her national debut on ITV’s Daybreak alongside rapper Dizzee Rascal to discuss her involvement in the campaign with presenters Christine Bleakley and Dan Lobb.

Gymnast Lizzie has clocked up more than 300 hours of volunteeringat Pendle Leisure Centre’s ICE Club, where she helps young people with disabilities get involved with sport and exercise.

An “over the moon” Lizzie said: “I got nominated through the people who I volunteer for in my community. I’ve done a lot of volunteering over the past three years, and I volunteer at a disability club once a week.

“When I was younger, I had severe asthma and was told I wouldn’t be able to participate in sport. But when I got older, I got involved with gymnastics and just thought ‘go for it’. I’m now trying to bring happiness to people by getting them involved in sport.”

Dizzee – who has been drafted in to help with the scheme - said: “Coca-Cola are launching a campaign to look for positive young people like Lizzie to carry the Olympic torch next year. It is an incentive to shed light on positive young people who don’t get a lot of credit for the good stuff they do.”.

Bosses behind the Coca-Cola scheme were so inspired by Lizzie’s passion for helping others that they enlisted her onto the 12-month programme which will see her attending events and promotions to drum up support for youth volunteering.

The former Fisher-More Catholic Humanities College, Colne, pupil, who is now studying A-Levels at Nelson and Colne College, will have her face on billboards and promotion material all over the country.

There’s more on this story in today’s Leader-Times newspapers