Published: 25/03/2012 10:00 - Updated: 23/03/2012 14:19

Olympic glory for spirited Fiona

Written byby Chris Saunderson

Fiona Birse has been selected to carry the Olympic torch.
Fiona Birse has been selected to carry the Olympic torch.

INSPIRATIONAL Fiona Birse is one of Moray’s Olympic Torch heroes.

The full list of the 8,000 people who will carry the torch on its mammoth journey around the UK was revealed this week.

And the Elgin Youth Café stalwart, whose support of the young people it helps has never wavered despite a cancer battle, is looking forward to getting her hands on the flame.

The 54-year-old has been a key figure in providing a range of award-winning services for young people for many years as voluntary chair of the Elgin Youth Development Group.

She was nominated by youth worker Peter Mutch for her work with the organisation which has continued despite two separate diagnoses of breast cancer.

"I had two bouts of breast cancer and this place (youth café) kept me going," she revealed.

"I am delighted," she added. "I am a great believer in the Olympics and will be watching it on the television."

Mrs Birse will carry the torch through Crathie, close to Balmoral Castle.

"I was hoping The Queen would be the person I passed it to," she joked.

Her cousin, Neil Stirton, is a contender for the GB shooting team at the London games.

Mr Mutch revealed why he nominated Mrs Birse for the torch relay.

"With all she has battled over the years she has always been there for the youth café and the project.

"To me and everybody else she is an inspirational figure."

Mrs Birse had only just finished her first course of treatment when she received another breast cancer diagnosis.

She had to travel to Edinburgh for treatment on a regular basis.

"She had her up and down days when she wasn’t well enough to come in," said Mr Mutch, "but the next day she would be in volunteering.

"Her spirits have remained high throughout and she says the café kept her going.

"I saw the Olympic torch relay advertised on TV and in the papers, asking people to nominate their local heroes. She is kind of a hero to a lot of people," he added.

Many more people from Moray have been selected to carry the torch during its marathon route. To find out more, read this week's 'Northern Scot'

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