THE Olympic torch is heading to the county next week and two Gainsborough people are gearing themselves up to take part in the honour of a lifetime.
North-County Primary school teacher John Anderson and teenager Jack Hodgson were picked from thousands of hopefuls to complete the torch relay at the end of June.
The pair will fly the flag for Gainsborough, with Mr Anderson carrying the torch through Immingham on 26th June and Jack picking up the baton through Winthorpe the next day.
The Lincolnshire Sports Partnership felt nominating Mr Anderson to carry to the torch was the natural choice after being shortlisted six times for Lincolnshire Sports Teacher of the Year, winning the trophy twice and being named runner up twice.
He was overjoyed when he learned in December last year he had gained one of 8,000 torch bearers’ places but he had to keep it a secret until March – not easy with a class of inquiring children.
Mr Anderson said he was humbled to have been given the opportunity and sees it not just as a reward for him but for all North-County pupils and teachers past and present.
“We have a wonderful school with a rich and successful history of school sport and the amazing honour of carrying the torch will allow us and the whole world to celebrate this,” he said.
“Watching the torch being carried is very emotional and I know I will feel immensely proud as I run in front of my family and children and adults from North-County.”
Fellow teacher Miss Richardson said the school was incredibly proud he had been selected to carry the torch through Immingham.
“Through his success, enthusiasm and commitment to PE and school sport, Mr Anderson is an inspiration to all the children in our school and he thoroughly deserves this accolade,” she said.”
Gainsborough teenager Jack Hodgson is also looking forward to carrying the Olympic torch through Winthorpe on 27th June which, for him, is yet another achievement in a long list of accomplishments.
A keen sportsman and athlete, as well as one of the country’s judo talents with a Commonwealth gold medal already under his brown dan belt, Jack has already exceedeed the expectations of his teachers, family and friends.
Jack is profoundly deaf and suffers from incurable genetic disease Usher’s Syndrome which affects not only his hearing but also his sight.
But thanks to support from Lincoln-based company Hearing Help Ltd, Jack has been provided with a full hearing package to help him on his special day next week and with his ambition of competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
Also looking forward to representing Gainsborough in next week’s special events are Megan Ainsworth, 19, and Amir Ameen, 18.
Megan, a former Trent Valley Academy pupil, is a world champion powerlifter with a growing stack of medals.
She has overcome disability to achieve her dream of being a powerlifter and will embark on her stretch of the torch relay through Cleethorpes on Tuesday 26th June.
Megan has built a long-lasting relationship with the Rotary Club of Gainsborough who bought the £199 torch for her – and she promises to bring it back to the town once she has finished with it.
Queen Elizabeth’s High School pupil Amir will carry the flame through Grimsby on Wednesday 27th June, after being put forward as torch bearer by school sports co-ordinator Philip Mason for ‘inspiration and excellence’ within school and out.
Amir is an ambassador mentoring young, gifted and talented pupils. He also captained the school football and badminton teams and volunteers as a coach at Doncaster Rovers Disability Football Club,
Mr Mason said he showed ‘Olympic values’ and made a ‘positive contribution’ to the community.