A PROFOUNDLY deaf teenage football referee is to swap the local pitch for the world stage after being chosen as an Olympic torchbearer.
Mathew Slator, who attends Doncaster Deaf Trust, in Town Moor has been chosen from tens of thousands of nominees to be a torchbearer in the countdown to the London Olympics this summer.
The 16-year-old became one of only four deaf football referees in the country, and is also the youngest.
He was nominated for the Olympic honour as a result of his voluntary work, his positive outlook and attitude and his footballing accomplishments
Alan Robinson, Executive Principal at Doncaster Deaf Trust said: “Mathew has been studying with us since 2007 and during that time has proven to be an inspiration to his peers and tutors alike.
“Mathew has a profound Bilateral Sensori-Neural hearing loss but his disability hasn’t stopped him living his dreams.”
Last year Mathew won the Young Disabled Volunteer of the Year Award at the North Lincolnshire Leisure and Culture Awards for all coaching work on a voluntary basis with younger children at Scunthorpe United.
He said: “I love sport, mainly football, so to be given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch is just a dream come true and will be the best birthday present ever!”
Mathew, who will turn 17 at the end of May, continued: “I don’t believe I have done anything special – I have just lived my life as I’ve wanted to and nothing has held me back.”
The Olympic Flame will be carried by 8,000 inspirational people as it journeys across the UK. London 2012 organisers have described the torchbearer’s role as a “moment to shine, inspiring millions of people watching in their community, in the UK and worldwide.”
Details of where and when Mathew will take over the torch are set to be announced over the next few months.
For more details about the Doncaster Deaf Trust visit www.deaf-trust.co.uk or call 01302 386700.