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An acrobat from Islington is taking centre stage in the Olympic torch relay – after being chosen to follow the flame on its 70-day tour of the nation.

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Gavin May, 26, who grew up in Caledonian Road and now lives in Highbury, has been selected to perform as one of the band of eight “flame followers” who will be exciting crowds as it passes through each community.

The team will use street performance, theatre and sport to help get the celebrations going after each leg of the torch relay, which starts tomorrow (Friday).

Mr May, who went to Our Lady of Sacred Heart primary school in Eden Grove, Holloway, said: “It was crazy when I found out that I was going to be part of the team.It’s just amazing and I can’t wait to get started.

“I’m an acrobat so I do back-flips and the like on the stage. I taught myself from a young age, I was always really into wrestling and kung-fu movies so I jumped around a bit and it took off from there.

“We’ve got so many different skills within the group so it’s great to be in such a mix and to be able to learn from all these different people.

“If I can’t compete as a sportsman at the Games then to be part of the official torch relay is pretty great and I kind of feel like I’m part of Team GB in a way.”

The flame followers will travel in black cabs, specially created ice cream vans and a bus before taking to the stage at each evening celebration.

Mr May added: “As a team we are already really close from rehearsals but by the time we’ve finished I’m sure we’ll be like family.

“Our job is to get people involved and build up the hype for the Games and I’m looking forward to seeing how the people react.

“Even before I knew about the auditions for performing, I was looking into getting volunteer work at the Games because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

n Lloyds TSB is the only national presenting partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. Find out what it is doing in the community and who is carrying the flame at lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame

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