A TEENAGER whose mother died suddenly just days before her GCSEs has been selected to carry the Olympic torch.
Katy Barker’s world was turned upside down when mum, Linda Barker, 52, died of a brain haemorrhage in May last year.
But the plucky Carr Hill High School student completed all of her exams and despite the tragic circumstances, passed them all.
Now the 17-year-old will join 115 torchbearers on the Olympic flame’s 70-day tour of the UK.
She said: “It was a tough time, my mum hadn’t been ill, there was nothing wrong with her, it just happened, it was very sudden.
“I had to be brave, to keep the boys in order, I have three brothers, so I sat my exams and thankfully I did OK, I passed them all.
“We were at Prom when my friend told me I had been nominated, she said a couple of friends and teachers and put my name forward – I was touched but didn’t think I would be chosen.
“I was so excited when I found out I was actually going to take part, I told my brothers and sisters, they thought I was joking at first.”
Katy, who is now studying, PE, sports production and design at A-Level, will carry the torch in Heywood, Manchester on Saturday June 23.
Joining Katy in her torchbearing challenge is local fund-raising athlete Dave Burns.
Dave, 70, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for local disability charities, St John’s Ambulance and Barnardo’s.
He took part in last year’s Beaverbrook 10k Fun Run raising money for the fight against prostate cancer, which he suffers from.
He said: “I was amazed when Gordon Marsden (MP for Blackpool South) put my name forward.
“I feel privileged to hold the torch for the town and for every single person who has helped me raise the money I have for a variety of different causes.”
Mr Marsden said: “I am delighted Dave has been given this once in a life-time opportunity to carry the torch for our town.
“I have worked to support Dave who is a highly motivating individual with passion and a good heart.”
Elswick man, Jonathan Evans, will also carry the torch this summer. He was nominated for his work in the community, in particular with Wrea Green Football Club.
He said: “I am absolutely elated, it is a real honour to have been chosen.
“I was involved with Wrea Green for 27 years and have now turned my interest to triathlons with the aim being to compete in the Iron Man triathlon.
“We have just found out we can buy the torch after we hold it which is great, I will definitely purchase mine, what a keepsake.”