On Wednesday July 4, Paul Rowlands, Marketing Executive for Fendercare Marine was given the honor of being an official Olympic Torchbearer and carrying the flame through Fakenham, Norfolk.
Paul was nominated to carry the torch in recognition of his fundraising efforts, following the death of his daughter, Alice at just 15 days old in 2007. Alice was born six weeks early and with a rare liver condition, neonatal hemochromatosis, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in September 2007.
After just five days she was moved to King’s College Hospital in London where she died. After her death, Paul, his wife Miranda and son Sam set up the Alice Rowlands Memorial Society (ARMS) to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which provides accommodation for families whose loved ones are in hospital miles from home. To date the family has raised almost £50,000 for RMHC through their website www.justgiving.com/teamrowlands.
Paul said “It was an amazing honor to carry the torch and a day that I will never forget. As soon as I got off the bus, I was mobbed by people wanting photos with it and just wanting to touch the torch. The crowds in Fakenham were amazing – the torch relay seems to have captured the nations imagination and I still can’t believe that I was part of it.
“I have only been with Fendercare Marine a short while but was really touched by the support of all my colleagues. I brought the torch into work recently and nearly everyone wanted photos with it and very kindly arranged a collection for the charity I support which was a lovely gesture. “Since the day I ran with the torch, I seem to have been inundated with requests for appearances at fetes, scouts groups, schools…the list goes on. I think my wife feels more like my agent at times! I have been really amazed by the magical effect that the torch has on children (and adults) and really want to make sure that it is shared with as many people as possible.”