Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 15:54

Global torch relay the World Harmony Run carried its torch to the Eden Project today (Thursday, June 30) and presented special awards to Eden’s chief executive Tim Smit, managing director Gaynor Coley, and Ken Radford of the People and Gardens programme.

The World Harmony Run is described as "one of the world’s largest and most enduring grassroots efforts for peace" and has visited more than 140 nations over the last three decades.

A torch relay which started in John O’Groats earlier this month passed through Eden today on its way to Land’s End. During the visit the team of international runners passed the torch and presented the Torch Bearer Awards - given to those who have inspired their communities - to:

  • Tim Smit, Eden’s chief executive and co-founder, ‘for his major contribution to changing the world into one where, in his own words, "plants provide a canvas on which we can paint an optimistic future."’
  • Gaynor Coley, Eden’s managing director, ‘for her invaluable contributions in steering the Eden Project to be such a success and making dreams become a reality and for leading the strategy to extend Eden’s influential environmental brand and programmes across the world. In her words: “Finding a better balance with nature is a big issue and it is urgent. Eden wants to be part of the solution, not just for the UK but across the globe.”
  • Ken Radford, founder of People and Gardens, ‘for running the People and Gardens project where he has made a real difference to people’s lives and assisted people with learning disabilities and mental health issues to develop work and social skills to enable them to take control of their own lives. The thought of the project is one where “it’s not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain”’.

Tim said: “It’s hard to convey the fact that one of the marvellous things about Eden, like the World Harmony Run, is that it could only have happened in the electricity of a moment when people were giving themselves the permission to do things together. It has been lovely to have the World Harmony Run here with us today and I thank them for this award.”

Gaynor said: “Eden is about celebrating the harmony and optimism of the human spirit and what the World Harmony Run does so powerfully is bring people together with the simple act of running. It has been a great honour to have the World Harmony Run come to Eden today and to receive the Torch Bearer Award.”

Ken said: “For the past 10 years the People and Gardens programme has worked closely with the Eden Project at Watering Lane Nursery to give people the skills and inspiration to make their own decisions and change their own lives. I’m so excited to receive this award from the World Harmony Run – it’s a tribute to everyone who has made People and Gardens a success.”

The World Harmony Run torch has been held by many prominent people including Lord Sebastian Coe and the Olympic runner Paula Radcliffe. Her Majesty the Queen held the torch at the VE Day celebrations in 1995 and used it to light the Beacon in Hyde Park.

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