Banbridge Scout finds lighting Paralympic Flame ‘an honour’

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A BANBRIDGE teen who helped light the Paralympic flame on top of Slieve Donard has described the moment as one he will never forget.

Josh Morrison, a scout with 2nd Banbridge Scouts, was part of a team to climb Northern Ireland’s highest peak in synchronicity with teams on mountains in England, Scotland and Wales.

The thirteen-year-old was accompanied by his dad Jon, a scout leader from the town, as they made their way up the mountain just after 6am last Wednesday.

The team, which included two visually impaired volunteers and a scout amputee, were selected as part of the pre-Paralymic celebrations ahead of the Games which officially begin on Wednesday.

Despite the windy weather conditions as the team scaled the mountain the experience was one to remember, Josh said.

“I couldn’t believe I was going to be part of something so special,” said Josh, speaking of the moment he heard he would be a member of the team to climb Slieve Donard.

“I am so proud and it’s a real honour to be one of the people to create the Paralympic flame. When I see all four flames come together in Stoke Mandeville, to light the Paralympic Torch and Cauldron, I will be thinking, ‘I helped do that!’”

Josh carried the lantern for much of the journey and said he was lucky enough to carry it for the final leg into Donard Park where it was met by a crowd who applauded its arrival.

His father Jon said he was proud both as a scout leader and as a dad.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “The four Scouts did themselves proud and I was simply there with another leader to accompany them. We were all delighted to be part of it.”

The flame travelled to Belfast for a celebration parade on Saturday at the Belfast City Hall and the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron at Stormont.

Josh has been asked to attend both events as part of the mountain team and Northern Ireland Scouts.

Jon said he hoped it may inspire others to join the Scouts and enjoy the opportunities it can offer.

“I hope this might encourage others to become involved in Scouting either as Scouts or leaders.”

Holy Trinity Church Hall plays host to the meetings of 2nd Banbridge Scouts on Monday nights between 8pm and 9.30pm.