May 25 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A RUGBY playing musician has helped bring the Olympic flame back to Britain.
Dennis Coles, of Dalmellington, was in Greece as part of an elite group tasked with collecting the torch.
The Doon Academy pupil was chosen by organising committee (LOCOG) to represent Scotland, along with four other youngsters from England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The young athlete joined HRH The Princess Royal, Sebastian Coe, Hugh Robertson, Minister of Sport and the Olympics, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson as part of the London 2012 delegation.
Dennis said: “Going to Athens was a fantastic opportunity and to be part of such a historic ceremony representing my school and country fills me with pride and excitement.
“It was the chance of a lifetime.”
The group accompanied the London 2012 team travelling to the handover ceremony in Athens to bring the flame to the UK, ahead of its 70-day relay around the nation.
Dennis and the other young people were invited to take part in recognition of their commitment to sport and their roles in promoting the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect in their communities.
Graham Short, East Ayrshire Council’s executive director of educational and social services, said: “Doon Academy was chosen for this huge honour because it has a link with a school in Greece, through the British Council.
“This is just one of the many benefits which have come from Comenius cultural exchanges, so it is fitting that the huge amount of hard work which goes into these programmes is recognised by everyone.”
Doon Academy head teacher, John MacKenzie, said: “We are very proud to have been selected as one of only five UK schools to be invited to play an important role in the arrangements for the 2012 London Olympics.
“Preparations for this event have been ongoing for two months, but the few people involved have not been allowed to speak about it until now.”
Kevan McCrorie, principal teacher of PE, said: “Dennis is a model pupil who exemplifies the values of the Olympic games and Doon Academy.
“This an amazing opportunity and a wonderful end to our three-year cultural exchange programme with our Greek school friends in Patras.”