Search is on for Olympic torch bearers

OLYMPIC fever has swept across Hastings since the announcement was made that the iconic torch would visit the town.

Almost as soon as the Observer revealed the Olympic flame would enjoy an overnight stay here in 1066 Country, the debate started as to who locally deserves the honour of carrying it.

Hastings Borough Council is still double-checking the protocol, but Councillor John Hodges - the man behind the successful bid to bring the torch to town - said he is confident a pair of local people get to be involved.

The idea is that Observer readers will be encouraged to nominate their choice of flame carrier - with a council panel choosing the eventual winners.

People have already been bombarding the newspaper’s Woods House HQ with suggestions.

Chris Sanderson was one of the first to contact us. He said: “Many of us in Hastings would love to see Reg Wild have this honour.

“He is the very popular ex-chairman of Hastings Athletics Club and has helped many of our young athletes. Currently he is terminally ill but he still tries to run and keep fit in other ways.”

Don Hawley wrote in to put forward council worker Kevin Boorman and Old Town stalwart Ian Porter in recognition for the work they have done for the town, while Jasmine Murray said the honour should go to the town’s Olympians - Sharna Murray and Sean Baldock.

Margarita King, whose father Edward Potts was an Olympic gymnast and took part in the 1912 Olympic Games in London (winning a bronze medal) and Stockholm in 1908, said she thought a local gymnast with the potential to appear at the 2016 games would be fitting.

Another name to crop was that of Eric Hardwick, who organises the annual Hastings Half Marathon.

Peter Mann, who nominated Mr Hardwick, said: “Eric has been a shining beacon inspiring young and old alike, both in our town, nationally and internationally.

“His efforts have raised thousands of cheers and smiles as the town stands every year, united and proud as one, round the route.

“Not only has he brought millions of pounds into the town, more importantly his efforts have shone a most favourable light on us for the world to see.”

Who would you like to see carry the torch? Email us your suggestions at observer@trbeckett.co.uk.