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Olympic torch returns to Worcestershire
Buy this photo » RUNNING FOR FUN: Nathan Fisher is all smiles (26076131)
WITH the Olympic month under way thousands of people in Evesham gave the torch relay a warm red, white and blue welcome.
There were Union flags as far as the eye could see as the flame entered the town at Greenhill before going past Evesham station, along the High Street, Abbey Road, over Abbey Bridge and along Cheltenham Road.
Even the presence of a few dark clouds couldn’t stop the townsfolk from entering the patriotic party spirit long before the torch’s arrival at about 11.20am.
The light-hearted mood was drummed up further by passing police officers and sponsor trucks booming out music and handing out freebies.
Among the torchbearers was Evesham’s own Fred Kaler, who as the chairman of the Evesham and District Pensioners Association has been heading campaigns to highlight issues for local senior citizens.
The 76-year-old was the only resident of the town to have the honour to carry the torch through his home patch.
He is on the select committee for Age UK, represents older people in the Evesham Market Town Partnership and has campaigned against the removal of wardens from sheltered housing.
Last year Mr Kaler received the Evesham mayor’s civic award for his services to the town.
Alison Burford, who lined the route with family and friends, said: “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am sure we will all remember it. The atmosphere was electric.”
Pat Davis, of North Littleton, turned out with three generations of his family to savour the moment.
He said: “We thought it was lovely but I should have brought some steps to stand on.
“It was a family outing for us and it brought a lot of people into Evesham.”
His daughter Rachel Tranter said: “We had the children with us and they thought it was brilliant.”
Other torchbearers passing along the streets were Joann Simon, who has raised more than £125,000 for children’s charity Dreams Come True and 13-year-old Louis Wilson, of Cheltenham, who suffers from idiopathic thrombocytapaenia – an ab-normally low platelet count.
There was also 14-year-old Tewkesbury School pupil Max Theyer, who lives in nearby village The Leigh, and Nathan Fisher, aged 28, who lives in Lydney in the Forest of Dean and is a world-class powerlifter Ezeigbo Damson, from Lagos, Nigeria; Hassan Mehdi, from Abuja, Nigeria, and Haku Shah completed the team of carriers.
Once the relay had passed through the town it was the turn of 85-year-old Moira Starkey, from Storridge, near Malvern, to carry the torch through Wickhamford.
The inspirational pensioner has raised more than £12,000 for breast cancer charity the Haven since 2004 when a close friend and neighbour was diagnosed with breast cancer and visited the charity’s centre in Hereford.
She completed her leg in a wheelchair pushed by fellow Haven fund-raiser Mike Chandler.