Olympic team get marching order!

Former Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson at home in Bessacarr.
Former Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson at home in Bessacarr.

A WAR hero and a fantastic fundraiser are two of the borough’s representatives to carry the Olympic torch next summer.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has been offered to Doncaster duo Ben Parkinson and Simon Boguszewski following scores of nominations from supporters of the caring pair.

However, former lance bombardier Ben - who lost both legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan five years ago - had a tense wait to find out if he had been successful after receiving his confirmation days after others were notified.

Ben’s family had to assume last week that the 27-year-old had not been chosen to carry the torch as thousands across the country celebrated their conditional offers.

Those that nominated him had been told via email that he had been selected and mum Diane Dernie delivered the good news whilst Ben was over in Colorado working with the American Wounded War Project - however, there was still no official confirmation to his home in Bessacarr.

After an anxious wait, Ben finally received his confirmation email on Monday to say he will be a torchbearer for part of the Leeds and Sheffield section of the tour on June 25.

And it will truly be an Olympic effort for Ben because not only has he had to learn how to walk all over again using artificial legs, Mrs Dernie said her brave son is determined to complete the distance on foot with as little assistance as possible.

“He is over the moon, he just can’t believe it,” said Ben’s proud mum.

“It is the best thing that could have possibly happened because now he has a focus and a target of six months to be able to be strong enough to walk the distance.

“There’s no question in his mind that he wants to walk it and carry the torch.

“Ben wants to do it for everyone who has supported him, he’s so excited. He’s been telling us he’s had a great time in Colorado ‘defeating’ the Marines in various activities they’ve been doing over there and now he has this news, it’s just brilliant.”

Also representing the borough will be Bawtry dad-of-two Simon who was nominated because of his mammoth fundraising efforts.

Simon has raised incredible amounts of money through record-breaking fitness challenges in aid of the Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund after his daughter Jasmine, now aged 14, was diagnosed with acute kidney failure in 2006.

The 36-year-old fitness fanatic has taken on a series of gruelling endurance tests such as running the London marathon whilst carrying a weighted rucksack and completing a full day of gym-based challenges including 1,000 press ups, a 125-mile cycle and a full marathon on a cross trainer.

Nearly £23,000 has been raised for the fund since super-fit Simon set up his www.supportsimon.com donations page back in 2007.

Simon, the chairman of the Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund, wrote a message on Facebook to his friends telling of his conditional offer:“Just received email from London 2012 confirming that I am due to carry the Olympic Torch on the 26th June as the route passes through Doncaster (Sheffield to Cleethorpes Leg). I would like to say a massive thank you to all those who took time to submit a nomination... Thank you.”

Able-bodied torchbearers will cover a mile but disabled people are allowed to cover whatever distance they can.

The full list of successful nominees is due to be released next year.