Hero carries the flame
Torch is paraded around the midlands
Last Updated: June 30, 2012 10:08pm
War hero Johnson Beharry with the Olympic Torch
Victoria Cross holder Johnson Beharry carried the Olympic Torch up the steps of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in front of thousands of war veterans and military personnel to mark Armed Forces Day.
Speaking afterwards, L/Cpl Beharry said it had been an "emotional" experience.
He said: "It was very emotional (carrying the torch) because of the reason why I am here - to see the turnout is amazing and being here on Armed Forces Day as well.
"Armed Forces Day is important to see the general public is behind us and support us for what we do."
He also said he hoped to be going along to watch a few events at the Olympics.
L/Cpl Beharry won the Victoria Cross in 2004, becoming the first living recipient of the decoration since 1969.
He earned the honour for saving the lives of 30 comrades by charging down an ambush and has since overcome terrible wounds to continue his military career.
Later on Saturday, veteran pop singer Sir Cliff Richard carried the Olympic Torch as it continued its journey through the midlands.
The singer held the torch just before 8pm as the relay made its way to an evening event at Cannon Hill Park in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
And Sir Cliff was not the only pop star to carry the torch. Earlier boyband The Wanted carried the flame through Newtown as it made its journey towards the UK's second city, where it will spend the night.
Some of Sir Cliff's most well-known songs were played as he took over the flame.
Thousands cheered "C'mon Cliffie" and waved as he ran and danced his way through the streets of Birmingham on the way to the final event.
Another torchbearer who carried the flame was paralysed rugby player Ben Smoldon.
The 37-year-old carried the torch in Smethwick after being nominated by Sutton Coldfield Rugby Club.
Mr Smoldon suffered a broken neck in a collapsed scrum while captain of the club's colts side when he was 17, leaving him paralysed. He is now permanently quadriplegic and requires 24-hour care.
He volunteers still with the club and works with local charities, schools and universities to raise awareness of charitable funds for rugby and disability.
Before carrying the torch, Mr Smoldon, from Sutton Coldfield, told his local newspaper: "For me this is a chance to represent the town, a town that means a lot to me.
"Since my injury the people of Sutton Coldfield have been great to me. For me to hold the torch, it is for all of them as well."
The torch started the day in Derby, making its way through Burton upon Trent, Streethay, Lichfield, Hopwas, Tamworth, Wyrley, Newtown, Bloxwich, Leamore, Birchills, Walsall, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Oldbury, West Bromwich, Smethwick and finally into Birmingham.