Date: 
Monday, May 14, 2012 - 17:30

TV daredevil Ben Fogle will fly the Olympic Flame above the canopy of the world’s biggest indoor rainforest at the Eden Project on Saturday May 19, the first day of the national Olympic Torch Relay.

Presenter, writer and adventurer Ben will be piloting Eden’s helium-filled Rainforest Balloon, normally used by the project’s horticulture team to prune the highest reaches of the tree canopy.

He is one of thousands of torch-bearers who will carry the Flame on its journey around the UK, starting at Land’s End on the morning of May 19, travelling through Cornwall that day and eventually arriving at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27.

The Olympic Torch is due to arrive at Eden at around 4.20pm, stop outside the Visitor Centre where the flame will be transferred into a lantern and transported to the Rainforest Biome where it will soar 50m in the air, held aloft by Ben.

Ben Fogle said: “I am thrilled to be one of the Torchbearers for London 2012 in such an iconic location. To be flying the Flame in a helium balloon within the dome is a great honour and a great treat. It will certainly be an experience I won't forget.”

Tracey Smith, Eden’s Commercial Projects and Relationships Manager, said: “We’re proud to be part of Cornwall’s starring role on the first day of the Olympic torch relay and very excited that Ben will be flying the Flame above the treetops in our Rainforest Biome. What an excellent curtain-raiser for what promises to be a fantastic summer of Olympic sport.

“As well as the chance to see the Olympic Flame in our unique setting, there will be a whole day of activities for families who want to have a day out at Eden around the visit of the Flame.”

Visitors to Eden can take part in Freaky Nature, a series of interactive activities exploring the strange world of plants with a special Olympic theme focusing on nature’s gold medallists (all day).

They can also see Cornish wrestling displays (11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm), catch performances of traditional sea shanties from the Barrel Rock Boys (12.30pm, 3.30pm) and see a programme of top dance demonstrations (1pm, 2pm, 3pm).

An Eden sports day will be taking place in the project’s arena between 11am and 4pm, featuring events such as hobby horse dressage, bean bag shot put and an obstacle course relay.

The Core building will be hosting the Marketplace of Ideas, a chance for visitors to find out more about community projects from Eden and other groups.

May 19 sees the Olympic Torch travel the length of Cornwall. As well as Eden, it will travel through Marazion against the backdrop of St. Michael’s Mount as well as taking in Penzance, Helston, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay, St. Austell, Bodmin, Liskeard and many other communities before ending its day across the Tamar in Plymouth.

Ben Fogle's achievements include racing 160 miles across the Sahara desert in the notorious Marathon Des Sables. He has rowed the Atlantic Ocean in 49 days and crossed Antarctica in a foot race to the South Pole.

He has also presented numerous programmes including BBC’s Animal Park, Wild In Africa, Countryfile, Crufts, One Man and His Dog and Extreme Dreams.

He writes regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and the Independent and has written five bestselling books. Ben’s latest book, The Accidental Adventurer is out now. He is an ambassador for WWF, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Tusk, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the President of the Campaign for National Parks.

The Eden Project will be open from 9.30am on May 19 and standard admission prices will apply. For prices and further details see the Eden website (www.edenproject.com) or call 01726 811911.