26 year old Leanne Pero from Peckham was one of the 2012 Olympic torch bearers.
Leanne started a street dance business for disadvantaged young people at 15, and subsequently launched The Movement Factory in 2010, whose academies provide dance classes from ballet to hip-hop.
Why were you nominated to be a torch bearer?
I nominated myself – here is my story from the official 2012 website
Leanne’s nomination story
I have been teaching dance for my community (Southwark and Peckham) for the last ten years since I was 15 years old, inspiring young people to dance. Through my company The Movement Factory (with both business and charitable arms) I hope to use this to channel more young people into dance and have a realistic approach about a career in it by helping them learn business skills to accompany them up the career ladder. I have also started including and teaching dance qualifications to our classes in estate based youth centres and halls so young people can experience learning without being at school or college.
I hope to work with as many young women in my community as possible to help them feel motivated and confident so that they can be who they want to be; using dance as a way of expression, exercise and a key skills builder, as these are all the things that have made me who I am today!
Tell us about getting the news you had been chosen.
As we had to go through about 3 stages before we got the final all clear I was very nervous by the time I got the email to say I’d been chosen. I screamed and had a tear in my eye as I went and told my mum. I live in Peckham but they couldn’t allocate everyone in the areas they came from, so I was given Islington. Another torch bearer I know from Peckham was given Hull!! So I’m very lucky!
We had to wear all white, special torch bearers’ top and bottoms. We got to keep it and the torch. As I was sponsored by Coke Cola I didn’t have to pay for the torch. Others had to pay £2-300 for theirs.
What happened on the day?
26 July 2012. The 24 Islington torch bearers for had to meet up in Islington at 4am. We got changed and set out in the bus at 6. As we approached the corner of Camden lock we saw a swarm of people out to see us. We couldn’t believe it – we were all crying and overwhelmed and waving – non stop waving – we felt like celebrities for the day.
None of us had eaten as we were all too nervous but we had to run. We had sooo much police behind us and around us. When we got off the bus we all gave each other a big send off. I was 2nd to last and the person after me was giving the torch to David Walliams (Little Britain and Britain’s Got Talent judge). We ran 300 meters. The crowd was lovely. After my run I got swamped by hundreds of people wanting to take their picture with me. I couldn’t get on the tube!!!
How do you feel about being a torchbearer?
Honoured, excited and nervous!
(Official 2012 Torch Bearer)
Founder, The Movement Factory
Check out TMF founder Leanne Pero mentioned in Management Today’s 35 under 35 list