Dismay for blind Shirley Waller at Olympic torch chance

Shirley Waller
Shirley Waller
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A BLIND charity worker may be forced to give up her chance to carry the Olympic torch after being given a section of the route 56 miles from her home.

Shirley Waller, 78, of Mead Way, Market Deeping, was thrilled when she found out she had been picked to take part in the torch relay across the UK.

But when the official route and torchbearers were announced last week and she discovered she was listed to carry the torch on Wednesday, July 4, in Mumby, near Skegness – 56 miles away.

To add to the confusion, her maiden name, Shirley Swan, had been used, which was taken from her birth certificate.

Shirley said she was told in November that she would be completing a 300-yard stretch through Market Deeping with her five-year-old guide dog, Alfie.

Shirley, who was nominated by the South Lincolnshire Blind Society said: “I’m very honoured to have been chosen, but I can’t go to Mumby.

“I might have been able if I wasn’t blind, but you can’t just take a guide dog to a town and expect him to know where to go. I’d have to go the week before to train my dog.

“We’ve been planning it since we were originally told.

“The vicar at St Guthlac’s was going to bless the flame before I set off, children from the town and my family and friends were planning to cheer me on – even the local cafe was going to provide us with a free breakfast.”

A spokesman for London 2012 said Shirley’s case would be reviewed.