Olympics 2012: torchbearer David State proposes to girlfriend during Olympic torch relay
A torchbearer has proposed to his eight-month pregnant girlfriend during day 31 of the Olympic torch relay from Middlesbrough to Hull.
David State, 25, from Redcar, who works with the Scout movement and raises money for charity, knelt as he asked Christine Langham, 27, to marry him.
She accepted and David State then had to carry on his stint in Loftus, Teesside.
He described the moment as “absolutely amazing” and Christine Langham joked: “I nearly had my baby there and then.”
David State said it had all been pre-arranged with relay organizers LOCOG, who gave him 300m to run before stopping to propose.
“Then I had to keep running with the torch for 300 m after that, so the words <<I’ve got to go>> came out of my mouth as soon as I’d proposed,” he said.
He added he was told afterwards that Christine Langham was “surprised” and in “floods of tears”.
She said: “I saw him running up the hill and I was pretty proud at that. I was trying not to cry. And then he gave his torch to somebody and then he got down on one knee and I nearly passed out!”
Some of the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for Margaret “Jean” Bishop, who at 90 is one of the oldest torchbearers of the relay.
She is known as the “Bee Lady of Hull” as she collects money for charity dressed as a bee in the city’s shopping centre.
She carried the torch amid huge support in the early evening sunshine in her home city.
The relay started with the Olympic flame being carried across Middlesbrough’s landmark Transporter Bridge.
Crowds gathered to watch as James Coupland, 17, came down from the top of the 225 ft (69 m) high bridge, which is celebrating its 100th birthday.
James Coupland helps out with sport at several local primary schools.
Earlier in the day’s 109-mile journey, the flame was carried on a steam engine on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
After arriving in Whitby, the flame was taken on board locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley, which holds the world record for being the fastest steam engine since World War II, achieving a speed of 112mph in 1959.
Kelly Williams carried the flame as they travelled to Pickering.
The 25-year-old from Scarborough is a PE teacher who has raised more than £20,000 ($32,000) to help underprivileged children in Zambia.
The relay travelled through Middlesbrough, Redcar, Marske-by-the-Sea, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Brotton, Carlin How, Loftus, Hinderwell, Lythe, Sandsend, Pickering, Filey, Bridlington, Beverley and Hull.
Other torchbearers among the 133 people who will carried the flame on Monday included Great Britain rower Tom Ransley, 26, who took up the flame in Pickering. Ransley was part of the crew that won silver at the 2010 World Championships.
During the morning the relay passed through the Victorian coastal resorts of Redcar and Scarborough, the largest holiday resort on the Yorkshire coast.
The evening celebration is taking place in West Park, Hull, where rock indie trio Little Comets and dance act Twist and Pulse are performing.
Amy Hopkin, from Hull, was the last torchbearer of the day, carrying the flame into the evening celebration at West Park, where a cauldron was lit during the festivities.
The 31-year-old, who has Down’s Syndrome, travels the world as part of a British gymnastic display team.
On Sunday, the day’s events started with England cricketer Paul Collingwood carrying the torch through Durham and ended with a party in Middlesbrough.
A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.
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