Olympic celebration

(Left to Right) Bridget James, Professor Qiang Shen, Susanna Ditton and Shon Rowcliffe.

(Left to Right) Bridget James, Professor Qiang Shen, Susanna Ditton and Shon Rowcliffe.

03 May 2012

Students and staff from Aberystwyth University are gearing themselves up to carry the Olympic Torch and join in the evening of celebrations at the University’s Vicarage Fields on Sunday 27 May.

Two University staff members and two students have been selected out of hundreds of hopeful candidates to become official Olympic torchbearers.

Professor Qiang Shen, Head of the Department of Computer Science, Bridget James from the University’s Sports Centre and Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences student, Susanna Ditton, will carry the torch in Aberystwyth.

Department of Television, Theatre and Film Studies student, Shon Rowcliffe, will carry the torch through the village of Brynhoffnant.

To welcome the Olympic Flame to Ceredigion, an evening of entertainment for the whole family has been arranged by LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) with support from Ceredigion County Council and the University.

The show, which includes live music, acrobatic and dance performances, takes place at the Vicarage Fields.

The venue for the University’s rugby, football and cricket teams since 1906, the Vicarage Fields has also hosted first class cricket matches featuring Glamorgan County Cricket Club. 

The evening is free of charge and will start at 5pm, lasting for two hours. At the end of the perfomrance, the last torchbearer of the day will light a cauldron on stage which will enable the audience to see the Olympic Flame.

Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said:  “We look forward to welcoming the Olympic Torch and the people of Ceredigion to one of our playing fields.  It will be a day to remember for everyone involved and particularly for those carrying the torch.

“On behalf of the University, I would also like to congratulate Susanna, Bridget, Shon and Qiang on their magnificent achievement in becoming torchbearers.”

More information on the evening performance is available on the Ceredigion County Council website www.ceredigion.gov.uk and more details on travel and parking arrangements for the show will soon be released.  There will be no need to book tickets beforehand. 

Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, who is co-ordinating the day’s activities on behalf Ceredigion County Council said: “We are all set for a day of excitement across Ceredigion. Local events are being organised along the Olympic Torch route between Cardigan and Aberystwyth, and the evening show at the end of the road will provide a platform for the very best of young talent here in Ceredigion.”

The Olympic torch will be carried across the UK by 8000 people and will arrive in Aberystwyth from Swansea on Sunday 27 May, leaving on its journey to Bangor the following morning.

The entertainment will be staged by LOCOG and the three Presenting Partners of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay - Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Susanna Ditton, a second year student at the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences (IGES), was nominated because of her inspirational story. As a youngster, she overcame spinal problems and bullying and more recently, spent time in Africa which included six months volunteering and teaching in an underprivileged school in Kenya. The 21-year-old is a keen cross-country runner and is a member of the University’s Harriers Running Club who will be competing this week at the British Universities Athletics Championships (BUCS) Visa Outdoor Athletics Championships, a test event for the 2012 Olympics being held in the Olympic Stadium.

Bridget James, a Lifeguard and Fitness instructor at the Sports Centre, was nominated by her running club, Aberystwyth Athletic Club. Bridget and her husband set up Apêl Elain in 2011 after their daughter, who suffers from Congenital Heart Disease and Deletion Syndrome, had spent five months in hospital in 2010. The appeal supports four charities that were instrumental in providing quality of care for the family. Bridget is also a keen runner, swimmer and gym enthusiast as well as a level two UK Athletics Coach and Spinning Instructor.

19 year old Shon Rowcliffe, a first year student at the Department of Television, Theatre and Film Studies (TFTS), will be bearing the torch through the village of Brynhoffnant near Cardigan on Sunday 27 May. Shon has Noonan's syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes abnormal development of multiple parts of the body and affects at least one in 2,500 children. Originally from Pencader in Carmarthenshire, Shon attended Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi in Llandysul before enrolling at Aberystwyth University. 

Professor Qiang Shen, Head of the Department of Computer Science, has also been nominated to carry the torch in Aberystwyth on the Sunday. Professor Shen will carry the torch to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth on Alan Turing, the founder of computer science and artificial intelligence and a figurehead for the code breaking efforts of WWII. Qiang came to Aberystwyth from Edinburgh University in 2004 to take up the post of Chair in Computer Science.