Each week The Chronicle will profile the community heroes who have been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch through thestreets of Chester at the end of May
IAN Powell may have had to overcome more difficulties than most but it doesn’t stop him living life to the full.
Born with spina bifida, Ian, 26, has always been confined to a wheelchair.
At one point doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of survival, and he has spent nearly every year of his life in hospital.
But instead of letting it get him down, Ian, from Blacon, has turned his difficulties into something positive.
Last year he raised £1,500 by organising a quiz for local disability support centre, Dial House, where he used to work as an administrative officer.
He has also given his free time every week over the last three years, to coach and support the junior section of his local wheelchair basketball team.
In recent months, Ian has abseiled down a viaduct, done a parachute jump, visited the USA alone, moved into his own home and come second in a stand-up comedy competition at the Laugh Inn.
Nominated to carry the Olympic flame by his mother, he said although it was ‘tremendous’ news when he found out, the hardest part was keeping it a secret for five months.
“I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone which was really quite difficult, but I am really pleased to be doing it,” added the former Catholic High School student.
Now he’s looking forward to his great opportunity and plans to focus on his comedic career.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed, making people laugh, and I’d definitely like to consider it as a career.”
AT 17, Huw Barrett already has lots to be proud of.
He has travelled around Europe playing hockey, was the only player from the North West chosen to play for the England Under 16s hockey squad and last year was named as one of Lloyds TSB Local Heroes following a nomination by the England Hockey Board.
The scheme provides financial assistance to outstanding young sporting talent in the area.
In four years’ time at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Huw, from Christleton is hoping he will be representing Great Britain in hockey.
But this time around he’ll be carrying the Olympic torch when it passes through Chester, and he couldn’t be more thrilled.
It’s been a difficult year for Huw, having dislocated his knee last April, but he is keen to get back into playing hockey at an international level.
“When I found out I was going to be carrying the Olympic torch I was amazed – it was a great honour to be considered and especially incredible to be asked to carry it around my hometown,” said Huw, a pupil at Christleton High School.
“I am so grateful to Lloyds TSB for giving me the opportunity.”