DETERMINED SWANAGE RAILWAY VOLUNTEER & CHARITY FUND RAISER TO CARRY THE OLYMPIC FLAME THROUGH SWANAGE
A determined Swanage Railway volunteer and devoted charity fund raiser – who also works as a Surrey and Berkshire stations manager – has been chosen to carry the prestigious and historic Olympic flame through the town of Swanage.
Fifty-one year old former soldier Frank Roberts, who has lived in Swanage for more than 20 years, will be one of several people carrying the ceremonial torch through the seaside resort on Friday, 13 July, 2012, starting from outside Swanage Middle School in the High Street at Herston at 12.24pm.
The public is being encouraged to take the steam train from Norden Park & Ride, north of Corfe Castle, to Swanage to support and cheer on Frank who works as the Station Manager for Staines and Windsor with South West Trains. Steam and diesel trains will be running every 40 minutes.
A delighted Frank said: “I feel very privileged, honoured and delighted to be one of the people carrying the Olympic flame through Swanage – it’s a very historic, inspirational and once in a lifetime opportunity.
“There is a great sense of community in Swanage and I hope that as many people as possible with turn out to watch the torch carried through the town by not just me but also the other people who have been chosen after being nominated by members of the public,” explained Mr Roberts.
The Olympic torch relay route around the town starts from outside Swanage Middle School at Herston and proceeds along Victoria Avenue – passing over the Swanage Railway – the seafront Shore Road, Institute Road, the High Street before returning to the middle school for 1.05pm.
A Swanage Railway volunteer for almost 30 years, Frank has dipped into his own pocket to pay for the restoration and development of one of the Swanage Railway’s stations – the historic Herston Halt on the outskirts of the town which was the steam railway’s first new station and opened in 1984.
Before his retirement as a Warrant Officer in 2004, Frank served with the 11th Signals Regiment of the Royal Corps of Signals based at Blanford Forum in Dorset.
Through exercises staged since 1984, he has encouraged the soldiers to help install lineside cables and telephones on the ever-lengthening Swanage Railway as it was steadily rebuilt mile by mile by the railway volunteers.
Frank’s most recent achievements for charity have been to walk the 633-mile south west England coastal path – carrying The Baton – during the summer of 2011. In the process, he raised more than £3,000 for the Heroes’ Haven holiday home Swanage which helps injured servicepeople and their families.
Last year, Leeds-born Frank – who served in Bosnia with the Royal Corps of Signals during the early 1990s – became the permanent Parade Marshal for the Swanage Royal British Legion.
Joining the Territorial Army in the late 1970s, Frank joined the regular Army’s Royal Corps of Signals in 1983 – the year he became a volunteer on the fledgling Swanage Railway where he managed the Telecommunications Department for more than 20 years.
Keen to encourage his fellow soldiers to help charities and good causes since the mid-1980s, Frank took part in charity fund raising while based in Germany with the Royal Corps of Signals.
After helping to manage the Swanage Railway for a period during the early 1990s, Frank has been a member of the Institute of Directors for 14 years. After having retired from the Army, Frank took part in a sponsored cycle ride from London to Paris during 2009 to raise money for the Royal British Legion.