Torch-bearers still glowing with pride after Olympics

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GREAT-GREAT grandmother Christine Carter was asked to sell her Olympic torch – but she poured cold water on the idea.

Widow Mrs Carter, 85, from Old Marston, said: “I was nominated to carry the torch by my son Steve, who is 61. And afterwards he had someone on the internet offering to buy it. I don’t think an amount was discussed, but we both knew we would never sell.”

Mrs Carter was chosen to be an Oxford torchbearer in recognition of her work at the Oxsrad Sport for All Centre in Marston and at Oxford Town Hall tea dances.

She said: “I’ve got my torch on its special stand in my lounge. But it’s been out to schools, and next week I’m taking it to a playgroup in Old Marston to show the children.

“People actually light up when they see it, and whenever I look at it I remember the day of the torch relay and it makes me smile.”

Malcolm Fretter, 67, from East Hendred, took the flame through crowds at Oxford’s South Park, and lit the cauldron there.

Mr Fretter was left a paraplegic after a massive spinal bleed, aged 26.

Like many other torchbearers, Mr Fretter has been taking his torch into schools and community groups.

Asked if he would ever sell it, he said: “No fear. I feel I have to share it and I’ll continue to do that as long as people want to see it.

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“When the Olympic flame was extinguished in London I shed a little tear. It was like a little part of my life had ended. But I still feel a glow and a huge sense of pride when I look at the torch – and that is priceless.”

The father of cancer sufferer Jake Spicer says he was shocked and surprised to be asked to carry the torch, but will now be using his to carry on fundraising in his late son’s name.

Michael Spicer, 50, from Greater Leys, was one of four Mini workers to carry the torch through the Cowley plant, and was nominated for charity work he has carried on in his son’s name, since Jake’s death three years ago.

Mr Spicer said: “It’s been at Oxford Children’s Hospital for the past few weeks, where it’s been making some of the parents and children smile.

“I’ve also got plans to use it for a lot of fundraising. People I work with are going to pay to have their pictures taken with it, to sponsor me on a cycle ride for Helen & Douglas House , where Jake spent time.

“We’ll keep it at home safe and use it to carry on Jake’s legacy.”

Julia Hayes, 44, from Benson, carried the torch through Kidlington.

She said: “I have also led out the children at Stadhampton Primary School’s sports day with it and I’ve taken it to Benson Primary. I have been mobbed by children wanting their picture taken with it.”

“I have a special place for it reserved in my dining room.

“Then one day, when I am old and grey, I will pass it on to my children and hopefully my grandchildren.”

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at 19, Jodie Evans says she won’t sell her torch because she can use it to raise funds for the MS Society.

Miss Evans, now 25, from Stanford in the Vale, a Mini Oxford recruitment worker, said: “If you had asked me if I would sell it before the relay, I might have said yes.

“But now I’ve taken part in that amazing event, felt that feeling and seen how I can raise money and do good with it, there’s no way I would part with it.

“The torch is in my lounge and my friends and family like to run around the house with it saying: “Look, I’m running with the Olympic torch.”

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