A well-loved Salvation Army major, who works tirelessly to help her local community in Bournemouth, carried the Olympic Torch through Corfe Castle in Dorset.
Crowds turned out in force to support Major Val Mylechreest, a minister at The Salvation Army church and first runner of the day.
She was nominated for her enthusiasm and hard work helping families, elderly people and many others in her local area.
Val also volunteers as a radio presenter with Hope FM, a local community Christian radio station which broadcasts in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.
Ahead of her torchbearing experience on Friday 16 July, Val said it felt like she was waiting to get on a rollercoaster.
“I was absolutely shocked when I received the nomination and have been trying really hard to get fit ever since,” she said.
“I am thrilled to be representing The Salvation Army and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly for our community in Boscombe – both staff and volunteers. Our community is a better place because of them.”
Val has been with The Salvation Army for 25 years – taking part in midnight patrols to help sex workers in London, assisting families and children in need and working in churches across the country and in Australia.
She and her husband Peter have been ministers at The Salvation Army church in Boscombe, Bournemouth, since 2005.
Val’s 400-metre run began at East Street just after 12pm. She was one of eight Salvationists to carry the torch (John Willson, Essex; Zoe Homes, Lincoln; Ryan Wileman, South Yorkshire; Shaun Evans, North Wales; David Chaffey, Wales; David Ramsay, Somerset).
On Monday 16 July, former Olympian Ian Richards was the last of the Salvationists to take part in this year’s Torch Relay.
The Salvation Army is proud to be supporting London 2012. Its Hadleigh Farm in Essex, which includes a training centre for people with learning disabilities, a working farm and rare breed centre, is the host venue for the London 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike competition on 11 and 12 August.
Salvation Army churches and centres are supporting the nationwide torch relay by providing refreshments and entertainment to crowds along the route.