AN INSPIRATIONAL torchbearer who carried the Olympic Flame through Royal Wootton Bassett earlier this year helped to light up the town again last night.
Ben Fox, of Westlea, was at the town’s Christmas lights switch-on alongside Miss Swindon, Ela Good, and Town Council colouring competition winners James Nesbit and Jasmine Wheeler.
Ben, who also attended the lights switch-on in Swindon alongside Jahmene Douglas this week, said it was a great feeling to be back in Royal Wootton Bassett High Street.
“It was really nice to be invited back, it’s great to be here and it means a lot. It brings back memories from when I carried the Olympic Torch through the High Street but it’s a lot colder tonight,” he said.
Ben was born with a catalogue of defects in his vital organs and no right leg due to a rare condition called Vater Syndrome.
The wheelchair basketball player, who is a Paralympic hopeful, carried the torch in one hand and a crutch in the other and stopped several times to swap hands as he made the 300-metre journey from the war memorial to Lime Kiln.
Hundreds of people attended the evening, which included workshops, a fairground, carols by the tree, a brass band, Mystic Ruth and gift and food stalls.
The winners of the colouring competition run by Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council arrived at the event with Santa and reindeer.
James Nesbit, seven, a pupil at Noremarsh Junior School, won the five- to seven-year-old age group, and Jasmine Wheeler, 10, who also attends Noremarsh, won the eight- to 12-year-old age group. The competition received 185 entries and was judged by Royal Wootton Bassett Mayor Mike Leighfield and deputy mayor Linda Frost. Councillor Leighfield said: “It has been a fantastic event and it is great to see so many people here.
“This is the start of Christmas as far as we’re concerned and I hope everyone has a merry Christmas.”
Ela Good, who lives in the town, said: “It was really fun to be part of the Christmas lights switch-on. “I am really excited to be here and to be supporting the local community.”