HELPING HAND: Runner, Inspector Gary Ballard, shakes hands with local Chief Inspector Darren Spooner after lighting the flame.
HELPING HAND: Runner, Inspector Gary Ballard, shakes hands with local Chief Inspector Darren Spooner after lighting the flame.

Carrying a torch for special talent


By DAN MacDONALD

daniel.macdonald@dailyexaminer.com.au

THE Law Enforcement Torch Run was welcomed in Grafton yesterday by the largest crowd the group of eight runners had seen on their journey.

They arrived at Grafton Public School to a playground full of wide-eyed students.

Having left Sydney last Thursday, the group of eight police officers were carrying the Flame of Hope, a tradition that celebrates the Special Olympics.

Last held in Sydney in 2002, the torch was making its way to the new games site on the Gold Coast.

Sydney policeman, Gary Ballard, said it was a privilege and an honour to run with and for the athletes involved in the games.

"When we were running with them they were just a sea of smiling, happy athletes," Insp. Ballard said. "And I can guarantee you, from what we've seen, we're going to be well represented next week."

Grafton was the eighth stop on the group's trip to the New South Wales-Queensland border and tomorrow they are expected to hand the torch to Queensland police.

"We were in Maitland and running with this young guy, Andrew, who I think is competing in the swimming.

"We were standing around having photos in front of the motorbikes and he just stuck his palm out, put his fist on it and yells 'That's Gold!'. And it was."

Grafton chief inspector, Darren Spooner and Councillor Kerry Lloyd accepted the torch and lit the cauldron on behalf of the community.

The Special Olympics starts on Sunday.



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