Coastal run for Olympic torch

The Olympic torch shone a light on the North’s dramatic north coast today on the second day of its journey around the region.

Coastal run for Olympic torch

The Olympic torch shone a light on the North’s dramatic north coast today on the second day of its journey around the region.

World Heritage site the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge were among the highlights.

There were spectacular scenes as the flame was held at the Causeway World Heritage site’s hexagonal columns of rock, while it was hoisted aloft by Denis Broderick as he dangled high above the Atlantic on the rope bridge between two cliff faces.

The torch started its relay proper from Coleraine, Co Londonderry, and continued through villages and towns including Limavady to Londonderry city.

It crossed the River Bann in a boat. Seamus Reynolds carried the torch with an eight-man rowing team. He was picked because of his work in the community.

Security was tight in Derry, where an explosive was thrown at police in an attempted murder bid over the weekend. It will be UK City of Culture next year.

A bridge has been built between a disused army base on the shores of River Foyle in a predominantly unionist part of the city and the other, nationalist, side.

Isobel Coote, 58, from Ballygawley, who was nominated for being an inspirational mother and grandmother, employer, community organiser and friend, will carry the flame to the middle of the Peace Bridge, where she will hand it to Meabh Fisher, 13, from Derry.

Meabh was nominated for her bravery in fighting a permanent health condition. She was born prematurely and developed necrotising enterocolitis, resulting in her needing a resection of the bowel.

She suffered infantile spasms and the early expectations were that she would not be able to walk or talk, with poor vision. She also has moderate learning difficulties.

Despite this, she has attended mainstream school at Oakgrove integrated primary school in Derry where the torch will visit. This school and her parents have persisted and brought her successfully through tough formative years.

Mark Horton, 32, from Coleraine, carried the flame on to Downhill Beach with Mussenden Temple on the hill in the background. He was selected for his dedication to improving the local Ballinderry River.

He said: “This project has gone from strength to strength, bringing together people from all walks of life, of all ages and backgrounds, with one overall aim, which is to make our river a healthier place for wildlife and people to enjoy.”

Other torchbearers included Melanie Nocher, 23, based in Loughborough. She competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for Ireland and holds 18 swimming records at junior and senior levels in long-course and short-course events in the North.

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