Hawick charity worker Fiona is set to carry a torch for Paralympics

29/06/12 - 12062903 - MATERIAL MARKETING'EDINBURGH
29/06/12 - 12062903 - MATERIAL MARKETING'EDINBURGH

A HAWICK charity worker is one of the select band chosen to carry the Paralympic torch ahead of the games, which start in London on August 29.

Capability Scotland volunteer Fiona Mackie is one of three torchbearers selected to represent the charity, and nominated through the Bank of Scotland.

Fiona, youngster Steven Sweeney and campaigner, Mark Cooper, were selected to carry the torch through the Bank of Scotland’s nomination campaign.

Their status as Paralympic Torchbearers recognises the difference they have made to their local communities and the inspiration they have provided to disabled people in Scotland.

Fiona has been a volunteer with Capability Scotland for 18 years and has personal experience of coping with disability as her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, while her father had Parkinson’s.

Fiona worked as manager of Capability Scotland’s shop in Hawick from 1994 until she retired two years ago and her daughter Donna took over as manager.

Fiona continues to volunteer in the shop full-time and the staff say they really would be at a loss without her help.

Fiona also continually fundraises for the charity by organising bus trips and days out for the local community, manning stalls at local events and identifying new sites for collection banks to generate extra stock for the shop.

She also helps with the collection boxes in the town.

“I am really excited about carrying the torch. It’s a fantastic honour,” she told TheSouthern this week.

Four teams are scaling the highest peaks of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to create the flames in time for next week’s Games.

The flames will then be carried down in lanterns prior celebrations in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

A 24-hour relay will leave Stoke Mandeville hospital, the spiritual home of the Games, on Tuesday, timed to arrive in London for the opening ceremony the following evening.

Fiona is scheduled to travel south to Watford on Tuesday to play her part in the relay from Stoke Mandeville to London, along with her Capability Scotland colleagues.

“I’ll find out exactly which part I will be doing when I get to Watford,” she said.

“I think the Paralympics are going to be amazing. The Olympics were fantastic, but the Paralympics are going to be better – the athletes taking part are just so inspirational.”

Capability Scotland chief executive, Dana O’Dwyer, commented: “We are very proud of all three of our Paralympic torchbearers. Their contribution to the work of Capability Scotland has been inspirational and outstanding.”