Chiswick Man Will Carry Olympic Torch

Ben Cooper one of the lucky 8,000 chosen to carry the flame

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Chiswick resident Ben Cooper (51) has been selected to be an Olympic torch bearer for the Borough of Hounslow.

Ben, who was chosen for his many years of voluntary work helping to develop Youth and Junior Sailing in the UK, will be carrying the flame on July 24th as the torch comes from Richmond towards Hounslow – the closest point to Chiswick will be Kew Bridge.

The torch relay is expected to arrive at Hounslow at 11.30 a.m. and Ben’s turn in the relay will starting anytime after it enters the Borough at Kew Bridge heading in the direction of Brentford High Street.

Ben told that he first became interested in sailing about twelve years ago through his two children. and has been rewarded for his tireless efforts to encourage the development of the sport at local and national level.

He commented “It's a huge honour for me to be able to represent the UK's Youth and Junior sailing programme in this way, and for a little known (or often understood) sport to have its moment in the limelight. 

“Sailing is obviously historically one of the UK's most successful sports at Olympic and International Levels, and the development of both Juniors and Youths is critical to ensuring ongoing success at the highest level”.

He was chosen for his tireless efforts to encourage and develop the sport at local and national level. Currently Chairman of the Uk 29er Class Association, in the last two years he has overseen a doubling of membership,and attendance at training and racing events has also more than doubled. The UK training programme is also oversubscribed on the weekends such sessions occur. 

Married to Deborah, who nominated him to be a torch-bearer, the couple have lived in Chiswick for several years with their two children. Their son Oliver is also an aspiring Olympic sailor and is in the last year of the youth programme, having already won a European Championship in 2009.

Over 8,000 people were whittled down from many thousands of applicants to be torch-bearers representing their communities. While Chiswick missed out on being part of the route, the organisers said it had been chosen in such a way that the flame would come within 10 miles of 95% of people in the UK.

Entering the borough over Kew Bridge, the Torch relay will make its way along Kew Bridge Road, Brentford High Street, London Road and into Hounslow High Street, before turning up Lampton Road to the Civic Centre.

Three community events are being planned along the route, in Brentford, Hounslow Town Centre and Lampton Park, to mark the Torch’s historic procession through the borough. The activities are expected to include:

  • A family event in Brentford High Street with market stalls, music, dancers, and a funfair
  • A dance show in Hounslow High Street, with a procession of dancers and Dhol drummers following the Torch to Lampton Park
  • A lunch event hosted by the Mayor of Hounslow at the Civic Centre, with a community event in Lampton Park

Cllr. Ruth Cadbury, Deputy Leader and lead member for the Olympics described the relay as a "once in a lifetime" chance to see the Olympic flame process through the streets of Hounslow and called upon people to line the streets to cheer the relay on.

After lunch, the Torch relay will be taken by motor vehicle to Surrey before proceeding to Hillingdon and then Ealing for the evening celebration.

A map of the route through the borough is available at

The Torch was designed by east Londoners Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who won the opportunity through a competitive tender run by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Design Council.The Torch is made up of an inner and an outer aluminium alloy skin, held in place by a cast top piece and base, perforated by 8,000 circles. The circles which run the length of the body of the Torch also help ensure heat is quickly dissipated, without being conducted down the handle, and providing extra grip. The Torch stands 800mm high and weighs 800 grams. It was tested in BMW’s climatic testing facility in Munich to make sure it can withstand all weather conditions.

More than half of the London 2012 Torchbearers are expected to be young people aged as young as 12, so the designers aimed to make the Torch as light as possible..

March 20, 2012

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