WHEN young Sophie Piper found out she had been chosen to carry the Olympic flame through Andover, she cried.
The 16-year-old, from Portsmouth, is devoted to caring for her disabled mum Rachel, and thought it was too far to travel to take part in the big torch relay.
But her family pulled together and arranged for the selfless youngster to have her moment in front of thousands of people yesterday.
And 50 miles away at their family home in Portsmouth, mum Rachel Williams wiped away tears as she watched her daughter carrying the torch with pride on TV.
Speaking after the relay, Sophie said: ‘It was absolutely breathtaking.
‘The atmosphere, with people shouting your name, was just amazing.
‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
‘I was so nervous in the morning that I was shaking.
‘I couldn’t believe I was actually going to do it. I didn’t expect to be chosen at all.
‘When I got the letter I was so excited, but then I started crying because I saw it was in Andover and thought it was too far for me to go.
‘But my family sorted it out for me and made sure I went.’
Sophie’s mum Rachel, 42, was seriously injured in a car accident 21 years ago which nearly claimed her life.
After three months in hospital she managed to recover from her injuries.
But the trauma of the accident left her with a lifelong disability and agoraphobia, which means she struggles to leave the house.
Sophie was nominated to take part in the relay by her PE teacher at school, who put her name forward in recognition of the hard work she puts in by caring for Rachel at home.
Rachel, of Beasant Close, said: ‘I watching her on the computer and when I saw her I cried.
‘She looked really good and I was very proud of her.
‘She helps me out at home a lot.
‘She gets up in the morning and makes me a cup of coffee and whatever I need doing.’
Being a young carer means Sophie looks after her mum and does anything that needs doing around the house.
She tries to do her homework at school during break times to make sure she has the time to help at home.
Ben Andrews, the PE teacher at Miltoncross School who nominated Sophie, said: ‘I was really happy for her when I found out she had been chosen.
‘She really does deserve it.’
Sophie’s family paid for her to keep her torch after the relay, with help from fundraisers at Miltoncross School.