Women carry the Torch

Natalie Barr carrying the Olympic torch at Ballygalley on Sunday
Natalie Barr carrying the Olympic torch at Ballygalley on Sunday
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THREE local women carried the Torch on Sunday as it followed its path to the London 2012 Olympics.

Geraldine McCann from Lurgan first collected the Olympic Torch at Stormont where huge crowds had gathered.

Stephanie Prentice carrying the Olympic Torch in Newtownabbey

Stephanie Prentice carrying the Olympic Torch in Newtownabbey

The 56-year-old was nominated to carry the torch due ‘to her selflessness towards others’.

Geraldine lost both parents to cancer within two years of each other and became am ambassador for cancer awareness, healthy eating and raising the importance of exercise regardless of age.

Geraldine has raised over £8,000 for cancer research through various fitness projects and nights out.

She is a very well known figure in Lurgan and with her continuous charity work she is known as ‘the walker’.

Earlier this year Geraldine was given the devastating news that her husband of 36 years had bowel cancer.

Geraldine has been a pillar of strength to both her husband her two children putting her own feelings aside to keep the family going and has attended every chemo session with her husband despite her enormous fear of needles.

Stephanie Prentice from Lurgan also carried the Olympic Torch through Newtownabbey on Sunday.

The 21-year-old has been described as inspirational. “She never gives up on anything and always has a smile on her face, I have never met a more positive person,” said her nominator.

Stephanie has done a lot for other people and has raised a large amount of money for different charities by running marathons, organising events such as speed dating and so much more.

Along with her church, Stephanie helped raise a large amount of money to fly over to Uganda to build accommodation for teachers and orphans who board at the school.

“Whilst at home she does cross community work doing acts of kindness for people who are less able, such as gardening and making food packages. She also works with the youth at her church,” said her nominator.

And 19-year-old Natalie Barr carried the Olympic Torch on Sunday at Ballygally.

Natalie, who was nominated for the role because of her charity work and sportsmanship, flew out to Uganda on Monday for a special hockey training programme.

The Lurgan girl has spent the last few months collecting hockey equipment and she will also be helping her father Dr Dickie Barr to help find the location for a second school in memory of Natalie’s sister Charlene.

Natalie said: “We have just sent out 500kg (14 boxes) of hockey equipment that has come from all over Ireland – including 290 hockey sticks.”

A first year BEd Primary student, Natalie has captained both Ulster and Ireland at under-18 level and has been heavily involved in the charity project following fund-raising efforts by her sister Charlene.

‘Charlene’s Project’ had the vision of building a school for children in Uganda after Charlene herself had to drop out of school whilst waiting for a double lung transplant.

Heartbreakingly, Charlene never saw the school, ‘Hidden Treasure’, built. The ground in Uganda was cleared for the building to start the day after Charlene’s funeral. She died in 2010, aged 20. Natalie has since taken up the torch to continue fundraising for Charlene’s Project for a second school in Uganda.