Delight for dad over Olympic relay role

Chris Cannon
Chris Cannon

A FATHER has said he is “over the moon” at the decision to make him an Olympic torch-bearer for this year’s torch relay.

Chris Cannon, 49, will be carrying the Olympic torch through Worthing on July 16, after his 22-year-old daughter Amy nominated him following his fund-raising efforts for Help for Heroes.

Chris, who lives in Sompting Road, Worthing, single-handedly raised £2,000 for the charity by running four marathons, and is also set to run this year’s Brighton Marathon in April. He also organises walking and running groups for his colleagues at work, in a bid to help more people get fit. Chris said: “I am thrilled I will be taking part in the relay. What’s even nicer is that Amy nominated me herself – when she told me, I couldn’t believe it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am very honoured that people voted for me to be a torch-bearer. What better place to run the relay than in my home town?”

Chris, who does not yet know what stretch of the Worthing route he will be running, said the seafront would be his choice of location.

“It would be great to have the seafront stretch,” he said. “But it’s also great that the torch will be run through the community, not just bypass it. The relay should really put Worthing on the map and show everyone what we have here.”

The Olympic torch will leave the top of Broadwater Street West at 4.37pm, before travelling down Chapel Road, South Street, then along Marine Parade into The Steyne, and along Brighton Road.

The torch is scheduled to reach Lancing at 5.30pm and will continue to travel along Brighton Road, before travelling up into South Street and to the top of Grinstead Lane.

Stephen Brooke, 45, from Lewes, has been named as one of the runners to be taking on part of the Lancing stretch after his “inspirational” battle with kidney disease and cancer.

He said: “I am proud to be part of this fantastic event, I think it will really bring the whole nation together.”

Ann Bridges, chairman of Lancing Parish Council, said: “This will be great for Lancing’s regeneration. We have the lovely Beach Green for everyone to come and cheer on the torch, and, hopefully, people will see what we have here.”

Bryan Turner, Worthing cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This event ties in brilliantly with the construction of the new pool and the pier’s 150th anniversary. The torch will be coming to Worthing in rush hour, and we are encouraging people not to get caught up in traffic, but come and cheer on the torch, and maybe go out for dinner or a drink afterwards. Make an event of it – it will only happen once.”

Another Worthing torch-bearer, who will be running the Midhurst stretch, is 63-year-old Ian Richards. A member of Steyning Athletic Club, Ian has won two European Championship gold medals, two silver medals and three World Championship bronze medals in race walking since turning 60, and was nominated by fellow Salvation Army member Hope Spalding.

Other local torch-bearers running the Worthing stretch are Anton Kalafus, 53, from Sompting, and Stevie Ackerman, 20, from Lancing.