Callum Airlie, the Voyage to Success 2012 Champion for Leg 3, was one of seven promising young sports men and women to be asked to light the Olympic cauldron at the climax of the Opening Ceremony on Friday evening.
We had heard that Callum had been invited to perform a duty at the Opening Ceremony but its exact nature was kept a closely guarded secret.
It has been an amazing year for the young sailor, who presented certificates to young people from Deckham Community Centre (Leg 3) on the same day as he carried the Olympic Torch through his home town. By an extraordinary coincidence the evening of the Opening Ceremony was Callum’s 17th birthday! Within hours of lighting the cauldron Callum had to fly to Austria to compete in the 420 Youth World Championships in Austria.
His mother Julie Robson said: “He lit the cauldron and he was on a plane at 6.30am to Austria. He turned 17 today. I think it is a case of feelings are beyond description – proud does not touch it. I think I will watch it a couple of times to know that it was not a dream and it was him. I think he is a bit like that.”
The two-time Optimist UK National Champion was nominated to be among the final seven by double Olympic sailing champion Shirley Robertson. He has been competing internationally since 2008.
Duet is due to depart Weymouth tomorrow crewed by a group of young people from York Children’s Services.