Denise Gray during her run

ONE OF the Reading torchbearers said that being able to carry the Olympic Flame was an exhilarating experience that was made even better thanks to the fantastic crowds.

Denise Gray, who was nominated after working with children in Thailand and India, carried the torch along Reading’s Bath Road on Wednesday, July 11. The member of St James’ Finchampstead supports The HDF Mercy Centre, which aims to help slum children by running schools, improving health and welfare and supporting children and adults with Aids related illnesses. Her torch run was a day for Denise to remember. “What an amazing experience it was,” she said. “Exhilarating doesn’t really do it justice. OK, so I know I did milk it a bit but it was just so fantastic.”Denise said that she enjoyed meeting friendly people and hearing the stories from other Torchbearers while being transported to her pick-up point. “I went through every emotion imaginable, starting with utter nerves, then close to tears followed by the exhilaration of carrying the torch,” she added. “The crowds are just so fantastic. “When I was dropped off by the first bus at my drop off point it was like I was The Pope! Everyone wanted to have their photo taken with me and the torch, people were handing me their babies to hold – which was a bit of a juggling act – and every way I turned there was a camera.”“I even managed a bit of a heel click in my excitement,” she said.

“What an absolute honour and privilege to be a part of something so amazing.”