‘Momma Wildcat’ and ‘role model’ Jonathan enter Olympic history

Valley Wildcats' cheerleading coach Carolynn McCord (front row centre) has been selected to carry the Olympic Torch through Newtownabbey on June 3. She is pictured with sisters Gemma Goudie and Lindsay McCord and Wildcats Ella Crooks, Laura Fleck, Clare Taggart and Nuala McStravick. INNT 17-442-RM

Valley Wildcats' cheerleading coach Carolynn McCord (front row centre) has been selected to carry the Olympic Torch through Newtownabbey on June 3. She is pictured with sisters Gemma Goudie and Lindsay McCord and Wildcats Ella Crooks, Laura Fleck, Clare Taggart and Nuala McStravick. INNT 17-442-RM

0
Have your say

A NEWTOWNABBEY man and woman will make history by parading the Olympic Flame through the streets of Northern Ireland as part of the UK-wide torch relay this June.

Carolynn McCord Clarke and Jonathan Craig will form part of the 8,000 strong army of people selected to be torch bearers for the iconic Olympic flame in the build up to the London games.

Jonathan Craig

Jonathan Craig

Carolynn will be carrying the torch through the borough on June 3.

The Newtownabbey route is scheduled to travel down the O’Neill Road, Station Road and then onto Shore Road before heading to Carrick as part of the nationwide event which Olympic organisers have pledged will come within 10 miles of 95 per cent of the population.

Carolynn was nominated by her sister Gemma Goudie for her coaching work with cross-community allstar cheerleading squad The Valley Wildcats.

Carolynn, or ‘Momma Wildcat’ as she gets called, started the group, which caters for all ages from four up in the Valley Leisure Centre, in 2007.

And the Rathcoole woman has been responsible for taking the squad - the first from Northern Ireland - to the national ‘Scotcheer’ championships in Scotland.

The 35-year-old told the Times: “After my sister nominated me I never thought anything of it until I heard I had been shortlisted - which was a total shock. But to actually be selected to carry the Olympic torch is something else - it is amazing.

“I still don’t really believe it - but I know that my 300 metres of the relay will be the nosiest of all with all my family and friends and all the girls from the Wildcats down to cheer me on.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Craig, who is building supervisor at Earlview Primary School said it was an “honour” to be selected to carry the torch.

The Ballyclare man will be taking charge of the flame as it passes through Magherafelt on June 7.

The 37-year-old is heavily involved with the Mossley Methodist Youth Group, plays football with Carnmoney FC and has run three marathons.

He was nominated by his daughter Anna and youth group member Conor Howarth for his work with the church and the local community.

Jonathan has organised a running club for teenagers and a drop-in centre, as well as drug and alcohol awareness programmes for young people in the area.

In his nomination, featured on the Olympic torch relay website, he is described as “a role model”.

He told the Times: “To be nominated was incredible, but to be selected is something altogether different - it’s a real honour.

“Obviously I would have liked to have run through Newtownabbey, but it just so happened that I was selected for Magherafelt.

“We will make it a great day out; the whole family will be out along with my friends and those from the youth group to cheer me along - I can’t wait.”

Earlview Primary School Principal, Raymond Smyth added: “Everyone at the school is delighted to have such an important person on the staff.

“Jonathan just joined the school last week and he has already become a very popular member of the staff. The whole school, staff, pupils and myself are delighted for him.”

Newtownabbey Council will be providing more information about how you can get involved in the borough’s Olympic celebrations online at wwww.newtownabbey.gov.uk and on Facebook in the coming weeks.

It has also organised a ‘Big Party’ for Sunday, June 3 at Jordanstown Loughshore Park with Olympic themed events in the morning followed by Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in the afternoon.