A St ANDREWS coach driver is taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience - driving one of the buses travelling the length and breadth of the country carrying the Olympic torch.
Mike Reid, who is employed by Stagecoach and is based in the university town, will play a vital role in the run-up to this summer’s London Games as one of 13 drivers from around the country forming part of the Olympic torch convoy.
The relay starts tomorrow (Saturday) from Land’s End and the torch will make its way across the UK on a marathon 70-day journey. A total of 8000 torchbearers will take turns to carry the flame through more than 1000 cities, towns and villages during the 8000-mile journey.
Mike told the Citizen: ”I have been driving buses for 42 years so this is the icing on the cake for me.
“When I was asked to drive for the 2012 torch relay I could not believe it. I went to London for an interview along with 34 other drivers and was delighted to hear I had been selected.”
Mike, who resides in Ceres, later returned to London for a dress rehearsal. It centred on day 46 of the torch relay calendar from Leicester to Peterborough, via crossing Rutland Waters on a sail boat and also carrying the torch on a steam train.
He added: ”Travelling on the coach through Melton Mowbray, the flags and bunting were out and hundreds of people were waving. If the real thing is anything like the dress rehearsal it is going to be awesome.”
It will be hard work, but Mike has been looking forward immensely to the experience and seeing so many different parts of the country.
He said: ”I will get a real buzz when I travel through Guardbridge on June 12 to be welcomed by family, friends and the City of St Andrews Pipe Band.”
During the cross-country journey, Mike will be driving one of the nine coaches collecting the torchbearers and dropping them at their designated point. Along with his 12 driver colleagues, he will also collect those that have completed their legs and return them to a pre-determined drop off point.
Tracy Darby, of Stagecoach East Scotland, said: ”Stagecoach are proud that Mike Reid will play a vital role in the Olympic torch relay by driving one of the coaches in the convoy.
“Mike was recommended by his colleagues at our depot in St Andrews owing to his professionalism and continued charity work. We wish him all the best, and are sure the runners and crew will appreciate his service.”
Mike Reid is also well-known in the area for his charity work and, over more than 25 years, has raised almost £60,000 for both local and national causes.