Newport baton-bearer's pride as she emulates late father

A Newport woman has spoken of her pride after emulating her father by carrying the baton in the build-up to a major sporting games.

Helen Bourton with the Queen's Baton at Harper Adams University
Helen Bourton with the Queen's Baton at Harper Adams University

Helen Bourton's father, Wally Dimmack, carried the torch before the Olympic Games in London in 2012, after being nominated for his services as a volunteer swimming teacher in Wolverhampton.

And, ten years on, Helen, who is chair of Newport Girls Football Club, was given the opportunity to carry the Queen's Baton on a stage of its tour, enjoying the honour during its visit to Harper Adams University.

"It was quite surreal to get the opportunity," Helen said.

"My dad was very proud to have the chance to carry the torch in the Midlands ahead of the 2012 Games. He'd always championed the roles of volunteers, so for him to carry that was lovely.

"And then, for me to get the chance too, with the Queen's Baton, was very special. Sadly my father passed away 18 months ago but my mother, Olwyn, and other family were there to witness it.

"It was just a lovely experience," she added. "I got to know the other baton-bearers on my leg of the tour, which was wonderful. I found that surreal, inspiring and spiritual.

"There were cancer survivors, charity fundraisers, doctors, sporting volunteers; and to have the chance to carry the Queen's message, which will read out at the opening ceremony, was a wonderful feeling."

Helen is set to take in some of the games, including rugby sevens and netball, and she said: "I think Birmingham 2022 will be incredible, a fantastic experience and hopefully they will leave a legacy and help to raise the profile of the wonderful volunteers we have in this country."

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