Former Wild Child Becomes Olympic Torch Bearer

Christian Church, London Borough of Sutton, Olympic torch, spiritual support and comfort, youth group leader,

Wednesday 25th July 2012

When Venetia Palmer carried the Olympic torch for 400 yards through the London Borough of Sutton on Monday 23rd July, it was the culmination of an amazing life transformation, which owes much to her membership of the Victory Youth Group (VYG).

All along the run she was supported enthusiastically by admiring fellow members of the VYG; and she is looking forward to following her two favourite sports – football and badminton – on TV during the Olympic Games.

Today, Venetia is a highly respected childcare worker, youth leader and football coach.  However the 23-year-old spent her early years as the angry child of a dysfunctional family.  Severely affected by the departure of her natural father, and with an abused and sick mother who was unable to give her the love and support she needed, Venetia entered a downward spiral.

Initially a popular little girl, eager to learn, she turned into an angry, aggressive and suicidal child, who self-harmed, shop lifted and was noted for the worst behaviour ever exhibited in her school.

Venetia’s turnaround came about once her mum started to attend the UCKG HelpCentre in Croydon, where the emphasis is on the practical application of faith, rather than formal religion.  Venetia joined the local VYG branch and eventually became an outstanding youth group leader.

“They taught me to trust God and I gradually lost my anger,” said Venetia.  Having failed all her GCSEs, she went on to gain NVQ Level 2 awards in childcare and IT and a Level 2 Council of Sports Leadership Award.

She was nominated to be an Olympic torch bearer by someone at the local authority who had noticed her optimism and patient, non-judgmental, approach when helping young and old.


Note to editors

UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort.  It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith.

VYG (Victory Youth Group) the UCKG HelpCentre’s youth ministry, encourages young people to maximise their talents and become the best they can be.

For further information contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on or call 020 7686 6033.

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