Street pastor ‘ecstatic’ to carry torchBy Becky Barnes
July 09, 2012
A street pastor from Binfield has been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch on Tuesday.
Gemma Whiteman was nominated for her volunteer work, which sees her looking after homeless and drunk people on Friday and Saturday nights in Reading.
The 28-year-old, who works in sales support for Verizon telecoms company in Reading, said: “I am so honoured. As it is getting closer I am starting to get a bit nervous now, but I just have to enjoy it.
“I never volunteered to do any of these things for any recognition, I just think it’s important to give back to my community, so this is a definite bonus.”
Gemma gives out food to the homeless at weekends and flip-flops to drunken girls who have taken their shoes off. She also volunteers at Reading Festival as a pastor and is a Christian Aid rep, who has raised just under £1,000 from two years of door-to-door collections.
She said: “I was ecstatic when I found out. I got an e-mail at work and I was the first one in the office so there was no-ne to tell. I think I cried a bit, and then I called my mum.”
Gemma will be supported by uncles and aunts travelling from Kent, Bristol, Goring and Newbury, her boyfriend and his familyfrom Wokingham as well as her parents, sister-in-law and niece when she carries the flame through Slough.
She said: “I am so flattered all these people are taking time off work to see me.
“It’s truly amazing.”