Flame of Hope to be lit in Much Wenlock to start the 2017 Special Olympics GB National Games Torch Run

24th July 2017

Flame of Hope to be lit in Much Wenlock to start the 2017 Special Olympics GB National Games Torch Run

Special Olympics GB’s National Games are to be held in Sheffield and South Yorkshire this August and the Official Special Olympics Torch Run with the ‘Flame of Hope’, will commence ten days before the start of the Games on Thursday 27th July.  The torch lighting ceremony will be held at the memorial to Dr William Penny Brookes at the Holy Trinity Church in Wilmore Street, Much Wenlock, North Shropshire – the historic birthplace of the modern Olympic Games.

Special Olympics GB’s National Games will see in the region of 2,600 athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities take part in 20 sports events.  Special Olympics GB’s tenth National Summer Games will be held for the second time in Sheffield – the first time was back in the steel city in 1993.


The  2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Great Britain will transport the ‘Flame of Hope’ from Much Wenlock on an exciting tour of towns and cities over a 10 day period.  The ‘Flame of Hope’ will be escorted by representatives from the police forces.

After travelling over 200 miles through 10 towns, cities and locations, The Flame of Hope will arrive at Bramall Lane in Sheffield on Tuesday 8th August and make its way to the Special Olympics GB National Games Opening Ceremony.

Special Olympics would like to thank most sincerely PS Darren Hendleman from South Yorkshire Police and the Wenlock Olympian Society for the organisation and support.

Special Olympics GB’s National Summer Games will kick off with a spectacular Olympic-style Opening Ceremony on Tuesday 8th August at Sheffield United Football Club, Bramall Lane – and will continue with four days of sport.

Special Olympics GB is the largest registered charity providing year round sports training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities.  This event is the largest disability sports event of 2017 and entry is free to the public for all the sporting action.



Thursday 27 July




1.00 pm - Meet at Much Wenlock museum

1.10 pm - Walk to Dr William Penny Brookes graveside

1.20 pm – Words from Special Olympics, Athletes, Chief Constable, Wenlock Olympian Society

1.40 pm – Lighting of Special Olympics torch

1.50 pm - Closing words – photographs/interviews

Attendees from Police: CC Stephen Watson SYP & PS Darren Hendleman SYP

Attendees from Special Olympics GB – Athlete and Board member Greg Silvester, Karen Wallin, CEO, SOGB athletes from the area, SOGB Chris Hull plus media.

The Mayor of Much Wenlock (Cllr. Graham Edgcumbe Venning) will be at the ceremony and will say a few words on behalf of the town.


Greg Silvester – Special Olympics Table Tennis Athlete, Coach and Board Member - Biography:

Greg, who will be performing at the National Games in table tennis, obtained an NVQ level 2 in business administration in 2010 after a successful work experience at the Warwick National Grid office and was then offered the business administration position at National Grid’s West Midlands Gas Alliance office in Wolverhampton.  Greg started competing in Special Olympics GB gymnastics at 10 and loved it, and he chose to raise awareness of intellectual disabilities.  In the mid-90s, he became one of the first British young people with Down’s syndrome to become a qualified mainstream gymnastics coach.

Greg also regularly trains and competes in gymnastics and table tennis; he has won over 250 medals since 1991.  Among other commendations, he has been presented with the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch for Britain in Auckland in 2000 on its way to the Sydney Games, carried the baton in 2002 at Commonwealth Games held in a place in Wolverhampton’s Sporting Hall of Fame, and the H E Lane Memorial Trophy at the Wolverhampton City Sports Advisory Council’s awards - in respect of his outstanding contribution to sport in the city.  Since 2005, Greg has been a representative of Mencap’s Self Advocacy Committee and a Governor for National Health in West Midlands.  Greg is also a part two drama groups and theatre company.

Greg is not only an ambassador for the charity but someone very special. Every now and again you come across people who are inspirational and an icon for all young people and we believe Greg continues to inspire.  He is qualified as a coach for special needs and mainstream gymnasts, training gymnasts at Wolverhampton’s Special Olympics Group Gym and encouraging children to take up sports.

Greg has been a staunch and strong voice for awareness of Special Olympics’ athletes, inspiring children to take up sports and mobilising people around the country to do what they can. He is an integral voice in his community.  Greg has been an outstanding spokesperson for intellectual disability and special needs sports, raising awareness across the country and inspiring others. He works with unstinting enthusiasm and energy.  He involves himself with everything he can to challenge his own abilities and encourage others to do the same, regardless of whether they have intellectual disabilities.


Tuesday 1 August


Key timings: depart Ripon Cathedral approx. 12.30pm for an arrival at Ripon Town Hall at 1pm

Flame Guardian: PC Dave Cullen, North Yorks Police

Special Olympics athletes: Ripon Ben Robinson (Table Tennis) and William Scrope (Swimming)


Wednesday 2 August


Key Timings: depart William Wilberforce Statue approx. 12.30pm for an arrival at the Queen Victoria Monument at 1pm

Flame Guardian: ACC Scott Young, Humberside Police

Special Olympics athletes: Adam Loubani, Timothy Wong, Mary Nolan, Duncan Burdass, Alice Bratton, Michael Simm, Owen Garsides, Harriet Beilby, Isaac Thompson, Ben and Milli Leech


Thursday 3 August


Key Timings: depart from West Yorkshire Police HQ Wakefield approx. 12.30pm for an arrival at Wakefield Town Hall at 1pm

Flame Guardian: ACC Williams, West Yorkshire Police

Special Olympics athletes: Oliver Peace, Thomas Raddings, Finlay Britland


Friday 4 August


Leg 1

Barnsley Town Centre, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

Key Timings: depart Barnsley Town Hall approx. 10.30am for an arrival at the New Barnsley Markets for 11am

Flame Guardian: PC Nick Finnigan


Leg 2

Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Key Timings: depart Elmfield Park, Doncaster approx. 12.30pm for an arrival at the Doncaster Deaf Trust for 1pm

Flame Guardian: PC Nick Finnigan & Sergeant Vicky Sowerby


Leg 3

Rotherham Town Centre, Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Key Timings: depart Rotherham Town Hall approx. 2.30 pm on a route going past Effingham clock tower for an arrival at Minster Gardens for 3pm

Flame Guardian: PC James Beck & Sergeant Aneela Khalil-Khan


Tuesday 8 August


Leg 1

Meadowhall, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Key Timings: Arrival at Meadowhall 11am approx.

Flame Guardian: PC Leo Hawker


Leg 2

Weston Park, Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Key Timings: Arrival at Weston Park approx 3.30 pm

Flame Guardian: PC Leo Hawker & Sergeant Vicky Sowerby


Leg 3

Sheffield Town Centre, via the Moor,  to top of Bramall Lane

Key Timings: to arrive in time for handover to final Flame Guardian at 7.45pm, arrive at SUFC stadium 8pm

Flame Guardian: PC James Beck & Sergeant Aneela Khalil-Khan


Top of Bramall Lane into Opening Ceremony

Key Timings: to enter stadium about 8.02pm

Flame Guardian: PS Darren Hendleman, South Yorks

The Flame will be passed between athletes from each region then finally to a Special Olympics GB Yorkshire and Humberside region athlete.  This final athlete will pass the Flame to the waiting South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable who will light the symbolic cauldron to mark the official start of the Special Olympics GB 2017 National Games.

Special Olympics GB’s Team will be coordinating who will be present at each location by way of Special Olympic athletes, families, volunteers, police officers, local dignitaries and celebrities.  At each location the Flame will arrive with police Guardians running the Flame it into a pre-agreed location for photo opportunities and interviews.  Each event will last no longer than one hour. 




Tuesday 1 August 2017 – YORKSHIRE DAY

Location: Ripon, North Yorkshire

1230pm – Torch Runner and party arrive Ripon Cathedral

1245pm – Torch Runner +1 Olympic Athlete depart Ripon Cathedral for a run via Kirkgate to Ripon Town Hall

1pm – Arrive Ripon Town Hall

-        Torch Runner – PC Dave Cullen, North Yorkshire Police


Wednesday 2 August 2017

Location: Hull, Humberside

1220pm – Torch Runner and party arrive William Wilberforce Statue, Hull (opposite Queens Gardens)

1240pm – Torch Runner approximately another 6 officers and other Olympic Athletes and party depart William Wilberforce Statue for a run through Queens Garden and the “Play Days” City of Culture event

1pm – Arrive Queen Victoria Memorial

-        Torch Runner – Assistant Chief Constable Scott Young (and 6 other officers) Humberside Police


Thursday 3 August 2017

Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

1230pm – Torch Runner and party muster in rear yard of West Yorkshire Police HQ, Laburnum Road, Wakefield

1245pm – Torch Runner and Olympic Athletes and party depart Police HQ via rear yard for a run via Coronation Gardens to Wakefield Town Hall

1pm – Arrive Wakefield Town Hall

-        Torch Runner – Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams


Friday 4 August 2017

Location: Barnsley, South Yorkshire

1030am – Torch Runners arrive Barnsley Town Hall

1040am – Torch Runners depart Barnsley Town Hall for a run via Barnsley Town Centre to Barnsley New Markets

11am – Arrive Barnsley New Markets

-        Torch Runners – PC Nick Finnigan / Sergeant Darren Hendleman


Location: Doncaster, South Yorkshire

1230pm – Torch Runners arrive Elmfield Park, Doncaster

1245pm – Torch Runners depart Elmfield Park for a run along Bennethorpe to the Deaf Trust, Leger Way, Doncaster

1pm – Arrive Doncaster Deaf Trust, Leger Way

-        Torch Runners – Sergeant Vicky Sowerby / PC Nick Finnigan


Location: Rotherham, South Yorkshire

2.30pm – Torch Runners arrive Rotherham Town Hall

2.40pm – Torch Runners depart Rotherham Town Hall for run, via Rotherham Town Centre and “Effingham Clock” to Minster Gardens, Rotherham

3pm – Torch Runners arrive Minster Gardens

-        Torch Runners – PC James Beck / Sergeant Aneela Khalil-Khan


Tuesday 8 August 2017

Location: Meadowhall Shopping Centre, Sheffield

1030am – Torch Runners arrive South Yorkshire Police HQ, Carbrook Road, Sheffield

1045pm – Torch Runners depart Police HQ for a run to the upper red car park of Meadowhall Shopping Centre

11am – Arrive Meadowhall Shopping Centre (via upper red car park) to enter main entrance of Meadowhall

-        Torch Runners – Sergeant Darren Hendleman / PC Leo Hawker


Location: Crookes Valley Park / Weston Park, Sheffield

2.55pm – Torch Runners arrive Crookes Valley Park

3.10pm – Torch Runners depart Crookes Valley Park for a run, via Crookes Valley Park and Weston Park to Weston Park Museum

3.30pm – Arrive Weston Park Museum

-        Torch Runners – PC Leo Hawker / Sergeant Vicky Sowerby


Location: Sheffield Town Hall

7.25pm – Torch Runners arrive Sheffield Town Hall, Pinstone Street

7.35pm – Torch Runners depart Sheffield Town Hall for a run via The Moor to top of Bramall Lane junction

7.50pm – Torch Runners arrive top of Bramall Lane junction

-        Torch Runners – Sergeant Annela Khalil-Khan / PC James Beck


Location: Bramall Lane to Bramall Lane Stadium

7.50pm – Torch handed over from previous runners

7.55pm – Torch Runner departs top of Bramall Lane junction

8pm – Torch Runner enters Bramall Lane Stadium

-        Torch Runner – Sergeant Darren Hendleman

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