Olympic Torch to come through town but Granthamians won’t be carrying it

Allys Clipsham will be carrying the torch in Wales.
Allys Clipsham will be carrying the torch in Wales.
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THE Olympic Torch will come to Grantham this summer - but Granthamians have missed out on the chance to carry it through their home town.

Bizarrely, at least five people from Grantham will carry the torch as it works its way around Britain but none have been chosen to carry the torch through Grantham on Thursday, June 28.

Paula Hayes of Barrowby will be carrying the torch in Preston.

Paula Hayes of Barrowby will be carrying the torch in Preston.

The seven selected for the Grantham leg include six people from Nottingham and one from Mansfield. Meanwhile, three Granthamians - Graham Colam, Russell Winfield and teenage rower Tracey Lamb - will carry the torch through Boston.

Paula Hayes of Barrowby will carry the torch through Preston - a town she has never even visited before.

Paula said: “I really don’t think it matters. Personally, I would have walked to Glasgow to have this once in a life-time opportunity!”

Paula has run five Great North Runs and three Great South Runs, and this year plans to run in every Bupa ‘Great Run’ over 10km to raise money for Cancer Research.

She applied to run with the torch in memory of her father, a prolific runner who died aged 46 when Paula was just 16.

She said: “My father ran a marathon at least once a month and started the Abingdon marathon in Oxford where the first local person home wins a trophy in his name. Everyone he met was infected with his love for sport.”

Allys Clipsham, 18, is a former Central School and KGGS pupil who has been selected to run in Bangor, Wales, where she is studying at university. She volunteers much of her spare time to help promote sport and aspires to one day referee in the Premier League.

Allys said: “I’ve already told absolutely everybody. There are so many inspirational stories about the torch bearers I feel a little overwhelmed to have been chosen.”

Keith Harrison of Barrowby contacted the Journal this week to voice his disappointment at the decision to overlook Granthamians for the town torch route.

Mr Harrison said: “What an Olympic let down. I would have thought that out of a population of around 45,000, someone from Grantham could have been invited to carry the flaming torch.”

The torch will be taken to Belton House before making its way through the town, starting in Manthorpe Road at 3.42pm. It will head along Castlegate before looping back on to the High Street via Avenue Road. It will then go to Asda roundabout before heading up Barrowby Road.