A TEENAGER hopes seeing him carry the Olympic Torch will inspire other young people to get involved in sport across Warrington.
Matthew Wilkinson, who is studying BTEC Level 3 Sport, Fitness and Coaching at Priestley College, was chosen to carry the torch because of his voluntary work in sport.
“When helping all the young children in Warrington I will tell them about carrying the torch and why I was chosen,” said Matthew, 17.
“I hope that will inspire them to work hard and think about the benefits of helping others.”
Matthew coaches children – including some with disabilities – in football and rugby, often going straight from College to support clubs and schools in the community and regularly not finishing his day until 10pm. He believes he has already clocked up 250 hours of coaching.
His skills are also put to good use by the Warrington Wolves Foundation and he also coaches at the club where he learnt to play – Latchford.
“I wanted to get involved to put something back into the community,” said Matthew, from Lower Walton.
On the Olympic website he is described as a ‘fabulous role model to young people’ who is also a CEOP trainer, keeping young people informed about the dangers of crime.
His experience carrying the torch – although twice as long because the person due to follow him fell ill the day before – was still ‘over too quickly’.
However, the former Bridgewater High School pupil thinks the legacy of the Olympics 2012 will be long lasting.
“I think the British public will now believe we can win in different sports, which maybe they didn’t before,” he said.
“The most important thing is getting more kids involved in sport because they all have individual talents and it is just a case of finding what each one has to offer.”
This week Matthew brought his own Olympic torch – one of 8,000 that the torchbearers were allowed to keep – into Priestley College to show tutors and students.
Head of Sport Nigel Howells and Principal Mike Southworth both praised his efforts.
“From the point of view of college and sport locally we are very proud of Matthew,” said Nigel.