A YEAR ago, David Chaffey was struggling to overcome a heart transplant and the complications that followed – but now he is looking forward to helping the Olympic Flame on its way through Gwent.

The 28-year-old, from Ebbw Vale, will be among scores of specially selected torch-bearers who will bear the flame through the area on May 25.

Selected after being nominated by the cardiac rehabilitation team that helped him regain health and fitness after more than four months in hospital, Mr Chaffey, who works for Aneurin Bevan Health Board, says he is “surprised and honoured.”

Torchbearers and the routes they will follow on the Olympic Flame’s 70-day, 8,000-mile journey around the UK are being revealed today.

Mr Chaffey will be carrying the Flame during part of its journey through Torfaen, accompanied by his guide dog Robyn. Mr Chaffey is registered blind, having lost much of his sight aged seven.

His heart problem was diagnosed in 2007, and he went on the waiting list for a new heart until December 2010.

He had a transplant in January 2011, at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He came home on May 31, and then began oneto- one physiotherapy and a regime of cardiac rehabilitation, mainly at Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan, Ebbw Vale.

“It helped me get to the stage where I could walk again,” said Mr Chaffey.

So impressed were the rehab team by his determination and good humour, one of their number – Helen Sanchez – nominated him as a potential torchbearer.

“I’m very honoured and very grateful to Lloyds TSB (through whom his nomination was made),” said Mr Chaffey, who does voluntary work for, among others, Guide Dogs for the Blind and St John Wales.

Another torchbearer will be Anne Shingler, of Ynysddu, who has battled breast cancer for several years, and who in 2008 was told the disease had spread to both lungs and was incurable.

Despite being told her life expectancy would be severely shortened, Ms Shingler, whose cancer is not currently active, strives to raise awareness of secondary breast cancer and campaigns to get access to more support and help for patients.

Samantha Hunt, 22, from Caerleon, donated £50,000 – half her winnings from the TV game show Deal Or No Deal – toward the building of a school in Kenya, which she went out to help build last summer. Between 2006 and 2011, she also raised thousands of pounds and helped renovate a rescue centre for street children in Embu, Central Kenya.

Torchbearers were chosen through nomination schemes run by London 2012 and sponsors Samsung, Lloyds TSB and Coca-Cola.

Torch relay coming to a street near you

GWENT’S big Olympic Games day falls on Friday, May 25, when the torch relay passes through Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Newport.

On day seven of the Olympic Flame’s 70-day journey around the UK, designed to enable as many people as possible to see its progress, people across Gwent will have an opportunity to soak up some pre- Games atmosphere.

The people of Monmouthshire have the first chance to see the flame, as the torch relay passes through the county on the Friday morning.

First stop will be Monmouth, with Raglan and Abergavenny also on a route passing into Blaenau Gwent.

The torch relay is scheduled to reach Brynmawr at 12.42pm on May 25, passing along King Street, Beaufort Street, and past Market Square, before heading for Blaenavon.

Schoolchldren from across Blaenau Gwent will be allocated viewing spots along the route, and Brynmawr will also host its own Olympic village at Blaenycwm Primary School, where attractions will include a climbing wall and inflatable football pitch.

The flame will be at Blaenavon’s Big Pit National Coalmining Museum for an hour before wending its way south through Abersychan and into Pontypool.

Newport will be the torch relay’s final destination on May 25, expected to arrive in the city around 3.45pm.

It will pass along Riverside Walk, under the Wave sculpture and past the Riverfront Theatre before being taken along Kingsway and Usk Way on to Lower Dock Street, passing Ruperra Street, across George Street and Dumfries Place.

It will then turn left onto Kingsway, passing Ebenezer Terrace to join Commercial Street, travelling the length of the pedestrianised area to Westgate Square, where it joins Stow Hill.

The relay will then climb Stow Hill, passing Victoria Place, Kingshill Court and Newport Cathedral, joining Friars Road and dropping down onto Waterloo Road and Cardiff Road, past McDonald’s and Tesco, into Maesglas.

Then it will travel along the A48 past Tredegar Park to junction 28 of the M4, along the A48 to the junction at Pencarn Way, visiting Lloyds TSB before rejoining the A48 to Cardiff.

Details about celebrations in Newport ahead of the torch relay arriving will be announced soon, along with information on road closuresand vantage points.

Newport Museum and Art Gallery is to host a ‘following the flame’ exhibition from April 4 to June 19, and the city’s Olympic taster programme will enable people to try out a different Olympic sport each week until July 27.

● Torch relay route details for your area are available through your local authority website, or check out street-by-street information online at london2012.com/olympictorchrelay