LIPA musician Ben Brown asked to carry Olympic Torch

A music student and outreach teacher at LIPA has received a conditional offer to carry the London 2012 Olympics Torch next year. Southport’s Ben Brown will run with the flame for one leg of its journey, when it winds its way to the North-West in June. The 25-year-old is delighted to be a part of the 70-day relay, which involves thousands of inspirational people from across the UK.

Ben, a third-year BA (Hons) Music student at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), was chosen because of his work with the Balloons project, a programme he launched in 2009 that uses the performing arts to engage with young Merseyside people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The singer-songwriter received the good news last week in a letter sent by Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola.

Ben enthused: “I got sent a letter from Coca-Cola, and when I opened it I was over the moon. It really is such a huge privilege to have been chosen to be part of something with such a history behind it. The feeling hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

The offer is the latest in a series of achievements for the former Range High School, Formby pupil, who is also a London 2012 Future Flames Ambassador with the National Union of Students, and a 2012 Olympics Inspire Mark holder – the first UK university student to receive one.

The Balloons project grew out of a motivational song he wrote as a class assignment. Ben now collaborates with a group of over 100 local young people, who work at the institute with him and a growing army of LIPA volunteers who help the youngsters develop and perform original songs inspired by the Olympic values.

Ben said: “One of our songs, White Light, is inspired by the values of the Games and the torch itself, so, now, getting the chance to carry the flame is amazing – and very surreal!”

As the clock counts down towards the Games’ opening celebrations next summer, Ben is also planning a series of Balloons-led live music events across Liverpool called 7. These events, which will run alongside other Balloons activities, are planned to start in March 2012.

James Quincey, President, Coca-Cola Northwest Europe and Nordics, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the thousands of outstanding nominations that we have received as part of our Coca-Cola Future Flames campaign this year. It’s been truly inspiring to learn about the many different ways young people are spreading happiness in their local communities, and we’re very excited to now be offering some of these people the once in a lifetime chance to carry the Olympic Flame next summer.”

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