Former Rugby League player Matt King has been named as one of the 8,000 London 2012 Olympic Torchbearers and will carry the Olympic Torch on its relay through Dunstable in Bedfordshire on July 9. King was seriously injured two weeks after his 17th birthday playing for London Broncos Academy team in 2004. He has a complete paralysis below the neck level, is unable to breathe independently and is totally reliant on a ventilator.
He went back to school, achieving A levels at A grades and went on to the University of Hertfordshire where he gained a first class honours degree in law. Matt continues to act as an ambassador for Stoke Mandeville Hospital and for the Royal Variety Club of Great Britain.
Since his injury the inspirational Matt King has painted a number of Christmas cards using just a mouth stick to raise money for the RFL Benevolent Fund which supports players whose lives are affected by serious injuries sustained while playing Rugby League.
Matt King said: “To be selected from all the worthy applicants to carry the Olympic Torch is a massive honour, and something that I am very proud to be a part of.
“Since my accident in 2004, I have been extremely fortunate to receive the level of support and well wishes that I have, particularly from the Rugby League community and the RFL Benevolent Fund.
“To be in position today where I am working as a lawyer in London and leading a relatively normal life is not something I thought possible during my long stay in hospital, and to have been selected to carry the Olympic Torch is something I can look back on in the future with great pride.”
The Olympic Flame will come within 10 miles of 95 per cent of people in the UK and will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer – including celebrations of local culture, breathtaking landscapes and dynamic urban areas.
8,000 inspirational people will carry the Olympic Flame as it journeys across the UK. Nominated by someone they know, it will be their moment to shine, inspiring millions of people watching in their community, in the UK and worldwide.
The Olympic Torch route also passes by Headingley Carnegie Stadium in Leeds on Sunday June 24 with the Rhinos at home that afternoon against Castleford Tigers.
To see the full Olympic Torch Relay map visit: www.london2012.com/olympic-torch-relay-map