With the Olympic Torch Relay making its way around the United Kingdom before arriving at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27th there is one person who will always remember the day when the torch came to the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. David Graydon, of the Gateshead Ward, Sunderland England Stake was nominated to be a torch bearer by the young people he works with as a youth worker for Gateshead Youth Council. David was chosen for the difference he makes in the community where he helps young people get involved in activities in their area. He is always available to help them with their work as well as participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, a personal development programme for youth aged 14-24 years of age which includes volunteering, physical challenges, developing skills and an expedition. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, who launched the scheme back in 1956, presents the gold medals himself on various occasions throughout the year and over 4 million young people have taken part in 60 countries around the world.
The Olympic torch relay is part of the tradition of the Olympic Games when the flame leaves Greece for the host country, tours around the cities and towns for people to see, finally arriving in the stadium for the commencement of the games. Thousands of people have been lining the streets of the relay towns to catch a glimpse of the famous Olympic flame which is being carried by people nominated for their good works in the community and, like David, for inspiring others through their achievements.
David carried the torch on 15th June, Day 28 of the relay, in the streets of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north east of England, cheered on by crowds waving the Union Flag and packing the city centre streets, which were closed for the procession. The Olympic torch had been passed to David by the world famous England footballer, local born Jack Charlton, who played in the winning World Cup England team of 1966 and managed the Republic of Ireland National Team from 1986 – 1995 taken Ireland to 2 World Cup Finals, a football legend to many people. David was chosen to be one of the 8,000 people who will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70 day journey to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27th July. David comments, "Being nominated to carry the Olympic Torch by the young people I work with was a great honour. I love my job and seeing the young people grow and develop in the best reward. Learning that they value my input and feel strongly enough to fill in a nomination is really humbling.”
David joined the Church when he was 17 years old in Dublin, Ireland and served a full-time mission in The England Leeds Mission from 1990-1992. He has served in a range of Church positions from teaching in Sunday school to serving in area leadership.
Since carrying the torch David has spoken in schools, brownie groups, community groups about the honour of carrying the Olympic torch. He has been invited to open a school sports day, an inclusive family fun day and has recently graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA in Community and Youth Work Studies.
David states, “Carrying the Olympic Torch was one of the best days of my life. The whole day was brilliant, meeting the other torchbearers on the day and getting our instructions, getting on the bus and traveling the route of the torch seeing all the people waving and cheering."