Nacton: Hero marine injured in Afghanistan to abseil with Olympic torch

THIS Suffolk marine doesn’t do things by halves.

Instead of simply running a regular leg of the epic Olympic Torch relay, Royal Marine Commando Martyn Williams will be abseiling from an aircraft into a London landmark while holding the flame.

The 23-year-old, who is not an official torch bearer, will be carrying the flame in a lantern while descending 180ft from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter into the Tower of London tonight.

Mne Williams, from The Street in Nacton, was wounded in an explosion during a tour of Afghanistan in December 2008 which killed a close friend and injured another. He suffered a broken foot in the blast which tore through the Jackal armoured vehicle he was driving.

He said: “I’m actually really quite excited about it. It’s literally happening tonight and it’s very exciting.”

Mne Williams, a member of the Commando Helicopter Forces based in Yeovil, said he was told about the possibility of someone abseiling with the Olympic Flame.

“Our job in the Mobile Air Operations Team is to teach people to abseil from helicopters but we would have had to teach someone to do it and carry out safety checks on the day so it was easier for us to do the whole gig,” he added.

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“I said I’d quite like to do it and my commanding officer was happy for me to do it in light of what happened to me in Afghanistan in 2008.”

Members of Mne Williams’ family – including his dad, Andrew, mum Jane, siblings Helen and Matthew – will be in London to watch him. Mr Williams told the Star: “It’s certainly a massive honour and Martyn is really excited.”

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “Now fully recovered and ready to redeploy to the region in 2013, Martyn has shown not only prolonged and commendable levels of determination, enthusiasm and commitment in terms of his recovery, but in continuing to develop the frontline skills – of which abseiling is a crucial one – which set him aside as an exceptional Royal Marine, embodying the true ethos of this elite service.”

The feat will begin at approximately 8pm. After the abseil, Mne Williams will pass the flame onto two torchbearers who will carry it around the Tower of London to be welcomed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Mayor of Tower Hamlet Lutfur Rahman.

The flame will remain at the Tower overnight. The torch relay finishes on July 27 when it will be taken from Hampton Court Palace to the Olympic stadium in time for the opening ceremony.

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