A COLNEY Heath teacher who is “absolutely mad about the Olympics” has been chosen to be a torchbearer to carry the iconic flame symbolising the Games ahead of London 2012.

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Claire Weston, a Year 5 teacher at Colney Heath School, is one of a handful of people revealed as a participant in the torch relay through St Albans on Sunday, July 8.

Eleven torchbearers will carry the flame from Hatfield past Oaklands College along Hatfield Road, through the city centre down Catherine Street, Folly Lane, towards Bluehouse Hill, then across Gorhambury Estate and on to Hemel Hempstead.

An average of 115 torchbearers a day will carry the Olympic flame during its 70-day journey around the UK starting at Land’s End in Cornwall on the morning of May 19.

It will travel 8,000 miles before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium for the lighting of the cauldron at the opening ceremony on July 27, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Claire will be part of an 8,000-strong team in the UK to don a torchbearer’s uniform of white with gold shards, representing the energy of the Olympic flame.

She was nominated for the role by pupil Ben Lloyd who felt inspired by the hard-working teacher.

Ben is quoted singing Claire’s praises on relay partner Lloyds TSB’s London 2012 website, on which he said: “Miss Weston loves the Olympics. She knows every Olympic date, every athletic record and every famous athlete from 1896 in Greece to now.

“I want to give Miss Weston the chance to hold the flame and live her dream in 2012.”

Claire, 34, has also been selected to be a Games maker volunteer and is giving up her holiday to work at the Olympic Park.

After originally being given Manchester as a location to work at, she wrote to chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) Sebastian Coe, who replied that his office has since rearranged it for her to work at the Olympic Park.

The iconic flame will be taken through Herts on the weekend of July 7/8, starting in Waltham Cross.

On July 8 it will arrive in Letchworth mid-morning before travelling to Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

Derrick Ashley, chair of the Hertfordshire is Ready for Winners Partnership said: “We are fortunate that the torch is visiting 10 towns in the county, giving plenty of cause for celebration.

“All Hertfordshire residents will be within a few miles of the flame at some point during the weekend celebrations.”

Residents of St Albans feature in the relay both in the city and elsewhere in the country.

To see the names of others who have been chosen and street-by-street details of where to see the relay go to: www.london2012.com/olympic-torch-relay

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