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Torch Bearer Shines A Light For SKFF

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

AN OLYMPIC torch bearer who organised the tennis tournament responsible for Andy Murray's first ever competitive win visited the Royal Hospital for Sick Children yesterday (Monday).

Sporting enthusiast Peter Nicolson dropped in on children battling illness at Oncology Ward 2 to showcase the torch and help inspire the next generation of athletes.

The 60-year-old from Liberton, Edinburgh, said: "Being nominated as a torch bearer was a fantastic and unique opportunity and I was delighted to take part in the amazing experience."

Peter was nominated by Olympic sponsor Adecco to commend 40-years of voluntary sporting event organisation, including twenty years of running the Waverley Junior Open Tennis Tournament, which helped carve Andy Murray into an Olympic Champion. Peter also directed the international tennis events that brought John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors to Edinburgh in the 1980s, and managed Scotland's tennis team which won a  gold medal in the Delhi Commonwealth Games, in 2010 .

The change programme manager, said: "Now that the Olympics is over, I'm determined to use the Torch to help inspire children and generally support good causes."

Peter carried the flame on Sunday 17 June for 300 metres through Stockton-on-Tees as crowds of cheering fans lined the streets, and since then he has already showcased the Torch at local sports clubs, Highland Games, and a tennis tournament.

He said: "I was really touched that my voluntary work as a Director for the Commonwealth Games Scotland and within Tennis Scotland was recognised in such a unique way."

Peter visited the children in the Oncology Ward of the hospital to tell them about his journey, show them the torch and let them get their pictures taken with it.

He continued: "It was a very humbling experience visiting the children and giving them some motivation to get into sport following their recovery. I'm happy to try to raise  awareness for childhood cancer and really respect the children who are battling the disease at the hospital.

"I will be taking part in Emily's Big Walk next month at the Meadows and would urge everyone else who is free to do the same. Those who take part will have a chance to walk some of the way carrying  the Torch.

"It is imperative that we do everything in our power to raise vital funds to donate to future research and improving medical equipment."

The walk is named after Emily Bailes, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of five, and lost her battle with the disease in March 2008, aged nine.

The Emily's Big Walk initiative is taking place throughout theUKwith legs inEdinburgh,AberdeenandGlasgow.

 Emily's family set up the Emily Bailes Fund to raise money for The Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) on July 4, 2008 - which would have been Emily's 10th birthday.

Funds collected from theEdinburghwalk will be split between SKFF and CCLG and will go towards supporting children with cancer atEdinburgh'sRoyalHospitalfor Sick Children.

Maureen Harrison, Chief Executive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said: "It was a great honour to be able to invite Peter into the hospital to show the children his Olympic Torch. They were all delighted and loved getting their pictures taken with him.

"Peter will be taking part in Emily's Big Walk along with a number of other participants. The walk will be taking place at the Meadows to raise money and awareness for children's cancer.

"I would encourage people to attend this event to help us remember Emily, a truly inspiring little girl with a big heart - and help us improve services in our children's hospital for those going through this terrible illness. Our plan is to use the funds raised by the walk to improve the treatment room where children receive chemotherapy and other treatments. We want to make it a better environment for them and also to provide some distraction equipment - hopefully a 3D television. All of this will help to make treatment more bearable for children who have to endure many appointments during their illness. Join us and help make Sick Kids better."

Emily's Big Walk will take place at the Meadows inEdinburghon Tuesday September, 4 at 6pm. Anyonewishing to take part should visit www.emilysbigwalk.org.uk or contact Vicki Watson at the Sick Kids Friends Foundation on 0131 668 4949.


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The Sick Kids Friends Foundation helps sick children get better by funding extra medical equipment, improving facilities, financing specialised research and training and providing a wide variety of extra comforts for young patients and their families at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, other health centres in the East of Scotland and in the Community. For more information please visit www.edinburghsickkids.org