As a worldwide audience watched the spectacular opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on July 23, torch bearer Emdad Rahman was home with his wife and three children in Barking having made a special solo trip to Glasgow on Monday to run 300 metres with the Queen’s Baton.
Rahman, 38, a local Government officer in Tower Hamlets who works tirelessly as a volunteer in numerous projects in the borough, described how he found out he’d been picked. “It was in April and I was at my desk in Woolmore Primary when I got the email. It was so fantastic I kept looking at it to check it wasn’t a hoax and that it was legit. Then I phoned my wife, my parents and told my colleagues in the school and then put it on social media. It was one of my post popular posts.”
His remarkable volunteer work, including twice weekly breakfast runs for the Whitechapel Misson, is how he got to run from the Royal Botanical Gardens to St George’s Road in Glasgow. Although yet to find out who nominated him, Rahman was familiar with the process having run with a torch along Deptford High street with the Paralympic torch but this time was very different.
Rahman said: “They got my uniform size wrong and sent me and extra large so whilst I was doing the baton run I was having great trouble keeping my trousers up! Normally it’s such a happy moment, but I was so conscious my trousers would fall down, I had one hand on the baton and the other trying to run and wanting to wave at people.”
“The crowds were slightly less than the Paralympics and the Olympics but the happiness was definitely on a par. It was fantastic . Strangers talking to you and asking for photos whilst passing their babies or pets to you. I didn’t have anyone to take my pictures as it was too expensive to take my family but a lovely Glaswegian policewoman ran ahead of me and took these amazing pictures. Also I’m a huge football fan and a Celtic supporter, and my hero was Paul McStay, Celtic’s captain in the 80’s. I was hoping I might bump into him when I ran with the torch but it wasn’t to be.”
The local government officer, was one of 4,000 baton bearers to take part in the 40-day tour around Scotland. It’s amazing he manage to fit in in with everything else he does for his community. Rahman is head coach of Stepney under 12 football team and regularly runs writing projects with young people in Tower Hamlets teaching poetry and blogging. He is passionate abot helping the homeless and along with the breakfast mission he does with Whitechapel Mission he is now a volunteer for the Tower Hamlets food bank where he goes on his lunch break.