Lincoln Cathedral has many parts as Beryl Oliver shows as she talks about her Olympian husband, Laurence.
‘On 27th June, 2012, former Lincoln Cathedral Chorister, Laurence Oliver was very honoured to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay. He started off the afternoon journey at the RNLI Station on Skegness seafront. An enormous and excited crowd lined the streets, waiting to cheer the torch on its way through the town; many keen to be photographed with the torch and torchbearer. Despite greyish skies, it was a very warm and pleasant day. The Skegness Lifeboat was out in front of the Station and Laurence was invited to climb aboard and brandish the torch aloft.
At the appointed time the Flame was lit, with great precision and care, from one of the Lanterns brought from Olympia, Greece. The timing was synchronised so that the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota, from nearby RAF Coningsby, could overfly Laurence as he set off, carrying the Olympic Flame, along Tower Esplanade, past the iconic Clock Tower and down Lumley Road to the loud cheers of the good-natured and enthusiastic crowd. Having held the heavy torch high and waved to the crowd and the Dakota on his very enjoyable 300 metre run, Laurence handed the Flame over to a teacher.
Nominated to take part by Bishop Grosseteste University College where he trained, and by the governing body of his sport: the British Canoe Union; Laurence Oliver is a three times Olympian. He competed at the Mexico, Munich and Montreal Olympic Games in kayak racing. However this is not a criterion for being chosen for the Torch Relay; all of those given their ‘moment to shine’ are individuals who have in some way inspired others. After his competition days were over, Laurence devoted considerable time, on a voluntary basis, encouraging others in his sport both in his capacity as a coach and team manager, inspiring success at club, national and international level. While he was Team Manager of the Great Britain Junior Canoeing Team, Great Britain won its first ever Junior World Championship in kayak racing, leading on to first ever canoeing Olympic successes, by these paddlers at the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympics. Laurence is hoping that there will be similar and even greater successes in London 2012.
It was a wonderful occasion in Skegness on Day 40 and the Torch Relay has, itself, been an inspired idea.’
We at Lincoln Cathedral congratulate Laurence and thank him for all the time he still gives to us in his support as a committee member of the Music Council.