Croydon fundraiser wins Olympic torch spot

Tom Smith

Tom Smith

First published in News Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant Editor

A dedicated son and film director has been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch this summer following his impressive fundraising efforts for the Kent Air Ambulance Service.

Tom Smith, from Croydon, undertook a series of projects to help raise funds for the service that in the summer of 2009 saved his father Stephen from a near-tragic fire accident.

Chief among the 24-year-old’s efforts was a documentary charting Cranbrook Town Football Club and as a result of it he landed a job with broadcast hire company Video Europe.

But Tom’s fortunes haven’t stopped there as a nomination to carry the Olympic Torch, through Lloyds TSB’s nationwide search for inspirational people, has been accepted.

Tom will be one of just 8,000 people to carry the London 2012 Torch courtesy of Lloyds TSB – his leg coming on July 18 through Hastings – but he insists he owes it all to the people who helped keep his father alive.

“If people didn’t raise money for Kent Air Ambulance, then they wouldn’t be able to save lives,” said Smith. “And making the documentary was the best thing I’ve ever done but also the hardest.

“We were taking a team that had never won anything in 100 years to a cup final and we got 1,000 people paying to watch the game.

“I’ve always wanted to be a director and now I’m living my dream but I feel a bit bad because it’s like I’ve almost skipped 20 years in the industry.

“My brother called me and he was laughing, saying ‘you’re going to kill me but I nominated you for something a while back and now you’ve got to carry the Olympic Torch’.

“It was a real shock – I didn’t have a clue about it at all but it’s going to be a great occasion and I can’t wait to do it.”

As well as carrying the Olympic Torch this summer, Tom will be making Lemonade, a poignant piece about a fictional music festival in Kent with state-of-the-art Red Epic cameras.

Peter Jackson used similar equipment, costing around £2million to hire, to film The Hobbit but Video Europe agreed to lend Tom the cameras as a reward for all his fundraising efforts.

”Off the back of the documentary they have seen my talent and allowed me to go and use their best cameras – they trust me with it now,” he added. “I was always going to do the documentary anyway but I didn’t expect it to become so successful.

“Without that documentary there is no way Video Europe would let me do this. Now there is no reason why this film shouldn’t make millions.”

As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you.

Find out what we’re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame

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