WHEN rising rowing star Cameron MacRitchie lit the Olympic Cauldron it sparked an ‘eruption’ of joy at his home in Oxford.

That’s because his family were in the dark about his flame honour.

The 19-year-old rower was nominated by Sir Steve Redgrave as one of the seven young athletes to light the Olympic Cauldron at the end of Friday’s Opening Ceremony of London 2012.

But the identity of the final torchbearers had been a closely guarded secret.

And yesterday, the former St Edward’s School pupil told the Oxford Mail how he had kept the surprise from his own family.

Dad Kenneth, mum Brenda, 53, and sisters Rowena, 23, and Arabella, 21, only found out when they were watching the ceremony on television at their Banbury Road home.

Proud dad Kenneth, 56, said: “It was absolutely unbelievable. He told us he was performing, but we had no idea when or how.

“It was coming to the end of the whole thing and then to see him get the torch from Steve Redgrave was just unbelievable.”

The family had gathered with relatives from the USA and Qatar to watch the event.

Mr MacRitchie added: “We just erupted.”

Cameron, a former Dragon School pupil whom is now on a gap year, started rowing at 14, and last August he headed the Great Britain under-18s men’s eight team in the World Championships at Eton Dorney to win the silver medal.

He said he found out about his nomination just a week before the ceremony.

But he said it wasn’t too hard to keep a secret from his family, adding: “I didn’t see them much because I was at rehearsals. It was an amazing experience and a real privilege to be nominated for it.

“It was a really good atmosphere. It was definitely the best thing I have ever done outside of sport.”

He said his aim now was to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He added: “My dream has always been to compete at the Olympics but this has spurred me on even more.”

His uncle Alan MacRitchie and wife Tanya, from Qatar, and cousin Cherith MacRitchie, from the US, watched the event on TV with his family.

  • See our Olympics section for, news, Live coverage and picture gallaries from London 2012.