Newham College IT teacher becomes Olympic torch bearer

For an unforgettable two minutes, a Newham College IT instructor became one of the borough’s first Olympic torch bearers.

Andre Bloem, 31, who works at the college’s Learning Line centre in East Ham, took part in the Glasgow leg of the torch relay.

Surrounded by security men, sponsors and crowds, he covered 300 metres during his allotted time on June 9.

Mr Bloem said: “The whole thing was a fantastic and very humbling experience.

“When I finished, there were people who wanted to take photos with me and the torch. They also asked questions about where I was from and how I became a torch bearer.

“There were also many other torch bearers on the day who had inspiring stories to tell.”

Mr Bloem spent the previous night in Glasgow to make sure he was at the meeting point by 5am to receive his instructions.

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He then shared the Olympic bus with 21 others to get to his starting point.

When he finished, a security team preserved the flame by lighting a Davy lamp with his torch for the next run outside Glasgow.

Mr Bloem’s wife Kate and her mother Judi also travelled up to Glasgow to support him.

“My wife and parents have told me that they’re very proud of me. And I’ve been getting texts from people in South Africa, which is where I’m originally from.”

He was selected by games organisers Locog and nominated by course providers Cisco because of his work providing training in five Olympic host boroughs.

Part of his job includes training secondary school teachers in teaching pupils professional IT skills and he also supports unemployed ex-offenders with their studies and into sustainable jobs.

He said: “I definitely feel that the work I’m doing is contributing to the Olympic legacy.”

Mr Bloem will also be part of a special Flame Day celebration put on by Newham College when the torch passes through East Ham on 21 July.