SAILING prodigy Lauren Harris is jumping for joy after being chosen as one of the Olympic relay torchbearers.
The 22-year-old, from the Portsmouth-based Around and Around sailing charity, will join gold medallists, veterans and charity workers next summer on the torch route.
Lauren was nominated for her inspirational work with the sailing charity.
She is also in charge of the project to make Sir Alec Rose’s legendary yacht Lively Lady seaworthy again.
Lauren said: ‘I was surprised when I found out I had been chosen.
‘My best friend Rachel nominated me a while ago and I just assumed I hadn’t been chosen.
‘It’s amazing and I’m excited to be taking part in the Olympics in this way because it’s such a rare thing. It will be great. And obviously it’s just another achievement for all of us on the Lively Lady project.’
The Olympic torch will go through Fareham and Gosport next summer before stopping in Portsmouth for an overnight celebration.
It arrives in the area on July 15 and hundreds of torchbearers – each with their own torch – will take part in a relay to pass on the flame. Every torchbearer will carry the flame 300 metres.
Legendary sailor and Lauren’s mentor, Alan Priddy, said: ‘She just never ceases to amaze me.
‘I always told her that if she reached for the stars she could have them.
‘And she is proof to everyone that you can do that and now look at what she is going to be doing.
‘It’s another amazing stepping stone in her life. She is on her way to the very top.
‘And as the leader of the Lively Lady project we just want people to look at her, see all that she is doing and realise they can follow in her footsteps.’
The first conditional offers of torchbearer places were sent out by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games last week.
News of Lauren’s success comes after the captain of a Girls Brigade group from Emsworth, Daphne Laycock, was also chosen as an Olympic torchbearer.