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OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY: Parade helps keep Jake's memory alive
On Sunday Jake Spicer’s family were marking three years since he died after a long battle with cancer.
But yesterday they pushed their sadness behind them as father Michael Spicer proudly held the Olympic flame aloft.
The 50-year-old was one of four Mini Oxford workers to welcome the torch to the city.
Mr Spicer was watched by wife Lesley, and children Aaron, 23, Ryan, 21, and Madison, seven.
He said: “Jake would have been as proud as punch to see it.
“It feels great to know we can keep his memory alive like this.
“I know he would have been looking down and cheering me on.
“But he would also have been taking the mickey, that’s just what Jake was like.
“If Jake was here, he would have been charging his friends a quid a go to have their picture taken with the flame but I know he would have donated every penny to the charities he supported.”
Olympic gold medal winner Daley Thompson was a surprise guest at the Mini Oxford plant.
The 1980 and 1984 Olympic decathlon champ posed for pics and chatted with delighted mini workers.
Mr Thompson, a CBE, even joined stunt driver Russ Swift as he took a Mini on two wheels in front of cheering crowds.
The athlete, who helped win the London 2012 bid, said: “It’s great to be in Oxford and be part of this.
“We will all obviously have to wait and see but my choice to light the flame on July 27 would be Seb Coe.
“He’s worked so hard for this and he’s a friend.”
The final recipient of the torch last night was 67-year-old Wantage resident Malcolm Fretter.
Mr Fretter, a paraplegic, took the flame before lighting the cauldron in Oxford’s South Park.
Thousands of people cheered and waved flags as rode his wheelchair on to the stage as the celebration event began.
He said afterwards: “It was a massive honour to be part of such a fantastic event.
“When I looked up I thought what an amazing thing to be a part of this just for one small moment.
“I feel very honoured and humbled.”
Despite grey clouds above, crowds were entertaining by live music and acrobatics. They also had the chance to take part in a number of sporting activities.
The Tree of Light was lit later, at 9.30pm, to mark the end of the evening’s celebrations.