'Blind Dave' announced as Olympic torchbearer
Published on 14th May 2012
Charity marathon hero and Sandwell's newest freeman Blind Dave Heeley is to carry the Olympic Torch.
Dave, who received his official confirmation letter over the weekend, said: "It's fantastic - absolutely incredible!
"I feel it's a great privilege and honour to be part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
"And I will be representing West Bromwich, Sandwell and the Black Country when I carry the torch up in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent, on 31 May.
"I would like to thank Sandwell Council leader Darren Cooper and the people of Sandwell, the Black Country and the West Midlands who have been right behind me."
Councillor Cooper, who led Sandwell Council's campaign for Dave to carry the torch, said: "It's fantastic news.
"I am very pleased that the Olympic organisers have now acknowledged Dave's amazing efforts, which have helped thousands of people.
"His unselfish attitude in light of his disability makes him a truly deserving recipient of this honour.
"This will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Dave's inspirational achievements and once again he will be putting Sandwell and the Black Country on the map as an ambassador for the area.
"We gave Dave the freedom of Sandwell in March this year and we will also be inviting him to play a full part in our local celebrations on Saturday 30 June when the Olympic Torch comes through Oldbury, West Bromwich and Smethwick."
Dave, aged 54, received his official torchbearer confirmation letter from the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) over the weekend.
Dave's family and friends joined councillors and VIPs to see him made the borough's 11th Honorary Freeman in a ceremony at the Council House in Oldbury in March.
Dave, who was born and lives in West Bromwich, became the first blind person to run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days in 2008.
And last year he completed a John O'Groats to Land's End running and cycling challenge for Macmillan Cancer Relief - 1,000 miles in 10 days.
He has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities including Guide Dogs and Macmillan Cancer Support.
On 23 June this year, a team of cyclists headed by Dave will be cycling from Wales to The Public in West Bromwich to raise money for local charity Changing Our Lives.
The Olympic Torch Relay is being organised by LOCOG and presenting partners, Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.