Popular railway workers Frank Roberts and Daniel Opoku from South West Trains are limbering up to participate in the UK’s Olympic Torch Relay this summer. Donning special white tracksuits for the event, both runners beat off stiff competition to be selected as torch-bearers after being nominated by friends and colleagues. The winning pair will each complete their own 300-400 metre section of the course,flanked by hundreds of cheering locals, friends and family, eager to get a slice of the action and absorb the unique atmosphere of the event.
Setting the pace, on Friday 13 July, station manager for Staines and Windsor Frank Roberts who has worked for SouthWest Trains for five years will begin his relay route at 12.30 in his hometown Swanage. A former soldier and keen fund-raiser, Frank Roberts has raised £100,000 for charity over the years. In May 2011 he gave up his annual leave to spend six weeks walking the 633 mile South West Coast Path from Minehead to Poole for Heroes Haven in Swanage. With a passion for the railways, Frank has also fundraised for the Swanage Railway Trust and is heavily involved in the Swanage steam railway.
Frank Roberts commented: “After 30 years of supporting charities I’m delighted to be able to receive this recognition.This is a proud moment for me and I am grateful that South West Trains is getting behind me by purchasing my golden torch for the event”.
Picking up the baton on Sunday 22 July, Mortlake station clerical officer Daniel Opoku will start his run at approximately16.00 in his home district of Erith where he will make his way to Bexley.
Daniel Opoku has worked for South West Trains for 17 years and was put forward to participate as a torch bearer because of his passion and commitment to customer service. Daniel Opoku, commented:“Being a part of the global showcase is very exciting as the Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world. I feel jubilant about being put forward to participate in this historic event and have been walking and jogging in Erith to prepare for the big day.”
As well as helping customers plan their journeys,making announcements and maintaining the ticket machines at his station,Daniel Opoku knows many of his customers by name and thrives on giving his customers a warm welcome. Over the years, Daniel Opoku has received a number of prestigious accolades for his outstanding customer service skills; National Railways Employee of the Year (2000), Personality of the Year (2000) and Frontline Customer Service Professional of the Year (2008)are just three examples.
The Olympic Torch Relay shines a light on the whole of the UK as torch-bearers carry the flame through more than 1,000of our cities, towns and villages. Lit in Greece, the Olympic Flame arrived in the UK on Friday and began its 70-day Olympic Torch Relay the following day. Carried by 8,000 inspirational torch-bearers, the Olympic flame signifies peace, unity and friendship.
Frank will be participating in a half marathon for various Swanage charities the day after his Olympic torch relay. He can be sponsored by visiting swanagearmylink.org.uk