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Fundraising father from Spixworth to carry Olympic torch in memory of tragic daughter Alice

PUBLISHED: 16:39 25 March 2012

Charity ball in aid of Alice Rowlands Memorial Society at Drayton Old Lodge on October 30, 2010.
Miranda Rowlands, Sam Rowlands, Paul Rowlands.
Pictures by Bob Hobbs.
For EDP Norfolk
EDP pics © 2010
(01603) 772434

Charity ball in aid of Alice Rowlands Memorial Society at Drayton Old Lodge on October 30, 2010. Miranda Rowlands, Sam Rowlands, Paul Rowlands. Pictures by Bob Hobbs. For EDP Norfolk EDP pics © 2010 (01603) 772434

A Spixworth man who has helped raise almost £50,000 for charity since the death of his daughter at just 15 days old is to carry the Olympic Flame as a torchbearer in the Olympic Torch relay this summer in recognition of his work.

Paul Rowlands, 41, who lives in Chestnut Avenue, has been told he will be carrying the flame when it passes through Fakenham on July 4 as part of a 70-day UK-wide celebration that will finish at the Olympic Stadium on July 27.

Mr Rowlands, who works for Aviva, in Norwich, said it would be an “amazing honour” and a fitting tribute to his daughter Alice who died in 2007.

Alice was born six weeks early and with a rare liver condition, neonatal hemochromatosis, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in September 2007.

After just five days she was moved to King’s College Hospital in London where she died. After her death, Paul and his wife Miranda set up the Alice Rowlands Memorial Society (ARMS) to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which provides accommodation for families whose loved ones are in hospital miles from home. To date the family have raised almost £50,000 for RMHC.

Mr Rowlands, who lives with Miranda and son Sam, said: “This is an amazing honour and I am deeply touched to have even been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch.

“Although I am the one lucky enough to be carrying the torch, I share this honour with a lot of special people. Firstly, my amazing family - my wife Miranda, without whom I am nothing, my son Sam who makes me smile every day and makes me the proudest dad in the world, and of course Alice.

“Although Alice was only with us for 15 days, it is through her memory that we have raised over £48,000 for RMHC, done some incredible things and met lots of brilliant people. I will be carrying the torch for everyone who has supported ARMS and hopefully as a sign that out of tragedy, some good things can come.”

Mr Rowlands added the honour of being a torchbearer still had not sunk in.

Mrs Rowlands, 39, who nominated her husband, said: “I am so pleased Paul is to be an Olympic Torchbearer because he is my rock. Losing our daughter was a tragedy that could have torn us apart, but throughout the dark times, Paul has been there for me and for Sam. He has tirelessly and patiently supported us both through his own suffering and still found the energy to work together to raise funds for charity in Alice’s memory.”

Don’t missing tomorrow’s Evening News for the next edition of our Olympics supplement London Calling.

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