NEWPORT’S Richard Parks took on a new challenge on Saturday when he was part of the Olympic torch relay.

The former Newport Gwent Dragons player carried the torch through Swansea on Saturday afternoon after being nominated by hundreds of people.

The mountaineer made history last year when he became the first person to climb the seven highest peaks on each of the world’s seven continents and to venture to the north and south poles all in seven months.

The 737 challenge aims to raise £1 million for Marie Curie Cancer Cure and the former Wales rugby international has already raised £300,000.

Mr Parks said he is really excited about the Olympics being in Britain and said he was very lucky to even be selected for the Olympic Torch Relay.

He said: “It was such a huge honour to be selected and be nominated by the general public – I am still pinching myself really.

“It’s a day myself and my family will treasure.”

Mr Parks said he has experienced some “incredible highs” over the last 12 to 18 months – including meeting the Queen – and said he puts being part of the torch relay among them.

After taking part in the relay, Mr Parks was busy packing to go to Alaska early on Sunday.

He will again climb Denali – the highest peak in North America – where he will test operating systems and clothing he has helped develop for a possible expedition to Antarctica next year.