Flame of Hope coming to town
Manawatu¯ police will join the region’s top athletes to carry the Special Olympics Flame of Hope through Feilding.
The November 10 event is part of the law enforcement torch run, which sees torches relayed from each end of New Zealand to Wellington – the venue for the 2017 Special Olympics National Summer Games.
Similar in style to the Olympic torch relay, the law enforcement torch run is a series of runs raising awareness and money for the Special Olympics. More than 90,000 police officers around the world participate.
Special Olympics New Zealand chief executive Kathy Gibson said the Feilding leg would begin at 10.30am from the town’s police station on Kimbolton Rd.
Special Olympics athletes and police would carry the Flame of Hope down Kimbolton Rd, along Manchester St and Fergusson St, and then up Aorangi St and back to the police station.
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie will also make an appearance and students from Feilding High School’s special needs unit will cheer athletes on. Gibson said the run helped promote and support the Special Olympics’ athlete leadership programme.
‘‘The support of the New Zealand Police and other service personnel is hugely valued and we look forward to taking to the streets with them as we move throughout the country,’’ she said.
Palmerston North inspector Mark Harrison said law enforcement staff were proud to run alongside athletes through their communities.
‘‘The flame represents so much of what policing is about – it stands for hope, courage, opportunity, inspiration and equality.’’
The Feilding leg is one of 31 torch runs in the lead-up to the Special Olympics National Summer Games. More than 1300 athletes from 42 Special Olympics clubs and three schools will take part in this year’s games, which take place from November 27 to December 1.
Gibson said the Special Olympics were held every four years and was the largest event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
The Special Olympics Flame of Hope torch ceremony makes its way through Papakura, Auckland, on its way to Feilding.