Today started out like any other. Eating breakfast...
Trying to prevent Aniah from breaking something as she dives from the window sill ...
Admiring Gareth in his torch bearer uniform. Wait, hold on. 30th of May - it's torch relay day!!
The whole lead up to this, Gareth has been completely indifferent to it all. But this morning I think it finally all started sinking in. The excitement was only slightly marred by the fact that his trousers were 't-o-y-t like a tiger', leaving him feeling a little self conscious.
We left early to avoid getting caught out with road closures and diversions. When we arrived at the drop off zone in Much Wenlock, there were already several media vehicles, sponsor cars and officials waiting to greet us (or tell us grumpily to 'move your car, you can't park there).
There was a tangible excitement in the air as more torch bearers and their families arrived.
We wandered around to give us a chance to find out where Gareth was supposed to be going and doing before he got on the shuttle bus.
He went into the lecture theatre where the rest of the torch bearers were gathering, at which point I made a swift exit as Aniah had just started wailing (why is it that a child's scream always sound amplified 100% in places like this?)
Outside they were doing interviews and handing out free drinks!
I know that our kids wont really remember any of this, but due to my obsessive need to take photos they will have a blow by blow account of it all in still image form!
Last photo before I head out to the location he'll be dropped off at for his leg of the relay!
We arrive in Broseley 2 and a half hours early to make sure we get a good parking spot and find the best location. Then we wait!
By 1.30 the main high street was really beginning to fill up. It was wonderful to see how much effort the village had made to support the event. What an amazing year to be British - the Olympics AND the Jubilee to celebrate!
It was just incredible to see the support that lined the pavements. The sea of red,blue and white. The sound of excited chattering school children as they awaited the passing of the torch. It's incredible to think that Gareth will be a part of history, a lasting image in the memories of so many people.
Trying to keep a 7 and 22 month old occupied for 2 hour when it's hot and they can't leave the pushchair is not an easy feat.
After tears, tantrums and several broken biscuits I noticed the police vehicles coming our way. Just a few more minutes and it would be Gareth's time to shine!
And here he is, torch in hand!! Finally he looks excited, (I think the reality of what he was doing sunk in at this moment).
All the people working with the relay crew were so lovely, really making each of the torch bearers 'moments' feel very special.
The sponsor teams would wave from the roof shouting at Gareth 'Take your moment, you're an inspiration!'
There were just a couple of minutes to take a few photos before it was time for Gareth to be passed the flame.
There were a surprising amount of people crammed into the back of this horse cart keeping the rest of the world informed. In fact, because of the amazing-ness of modern technology, several of my family member were able to watch live all across the world (including China,Dubai and America).
He holds his torch aloft for a moment, then he's off!
Poor Aniah had flaked out in her pushchair after all the waiting. I think it all the noise and excitement were a bit overwhelming!
A wave to the crowd :) It's odd to think that his picture will probably be circulating around on a few hundred facebook threads after this!
The flame is transferred to the lantern until the next leg of the journey and Gareth's flame was extinguished
Time for a quick interview before he hopped back on the shuttle bus and was gone. It felt like it was over too soon!
I drove back to the drop off point and waited for the shuttle bus to get back. When it arrived it was great to see Gareth chatting away happily to all the other inspirational torch bearers (read all about their incredible stories here). I couldn't wait to give him a big kiss and a cuddle. Neither could Aniah!
Everyone gathered around to collect the torch they would take home
Gareth told me afterwards that he really got on well with this guy (081), apparently his wife died of cancer 5 years ago leaving him with a 3 year old daughter. Since then he has been running in triathlons, marathons and other sporting challenges. He said it was his 'year of pain', each time he took part he tried to beat his time and get better in memory of his wife. Amazing. The boy in the wheel chair is a quadraplegic, but he wasn't always like that, he was hit by a taxi when he was 8. Gareth said he felt a little embarrassed when he told everyone his story (which you can read here) because there were people who had really endured a lot. Apparently it was truly humbling.
We hadn't realised just how special this event was going to be. As we were leaving there was a family that caught sight of Gareth with the torch and asked if they could have a photo and signature. To which Gareth was a little taken aback by! On the way back we were discussing how it would be unfair to not to share this moment with people, because ultimately he is representing something special. The attention wasn't necessarily about him, but about the torch and being a 'part' of the olympics - a once in a life time thing!
My brother-in-law asked if we could pop by his work and show his colleagues the torch and take a few photos because they were unable to get time off work to see the torch relay during the day.
It was lovely to watch how excited they all got by seeing it!
When we got home we finally had a moment to take a photo all together.
Kiddies turn to have a photo with Daddy :)
My turn...ooooh the shiny shiny :)