Kelly proud to fly the flag

Kelly Whalley with Giles Whalley flying the Olympic flag
Kelly Whalley with Giles Whalley flying the Olympic flag

KELLY Whalley was left profoundly deaf after she contracted meningitis when she was just eight-weeks-old.

But that won’t stop her enjoying every second of the atmosphere when she carries the Olympic torch through her native St Helens early next month.

The 34-year-old, who also has cerebral palsy, can’t wait to don her full Olympic kit and carry the torch while being pushed along in her wheelchair.

And her mum, Sheila, and brother, Giles, are so proud of her that they’re already flying the Olympic flag outside their home!

Sheila said: “As Kelly is in a wheelchair she will carry the torch for the full 300 metres while being pushed by somebody else.

“We don’t know exactly which leg she will be doing yet - but we’ve been told it will definitely be in St Helens. The whole family has already arranged to have the day off to cheer her on from the sidelines.

“We’re also hoping that Giles, who is her main carer, will be able to accompany her along the edge of the crowds.”

Amazingly, it’s not the first time Kelly has performed such an important pre-Games role.

Back in 2002, she carried the baton through Parr prior to the Manchester Commonwealth Games - picking it up from none other than Johnny Vegas!

The Whalleys have appeared in the Reporter recently too, after they flew the United Nations outside their Green Leach Lane home.

Sheila added: “Kelly doesn’t show her emotions much but we can tell she’s really excited because she’s been telling everyone she meets.”

The Olympic torch is set to come to St Helens on June 1. Thousands of people are expected to line the streets between where it enters the borough, near Windle Island, to where it exits, on the Prescot border.