Runners relish torch’s arrival

Torchbearer Ben Holmes with sister Charlie Coatsworth (7) with mum Julia Coatsworth and nana Shirley Murray
Torchbearer Ben Holmes with sister Charlie Coatsworth (7) with mum Julia Coatsworth and nana Shirley Murray
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ON your marks — the Olympic torch relay is off and running on UK shores and is just over four weeks away from passing through Fylde.

The runners taking part of the local legs of the nationwide relay are sure to have enjoyed an extra adrenalin rush as the flame started its tour in the South West at the weekend.

It will be relayed from Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club to Lytham Windmill from 6am on Saturday, June 23 and among the 10 runners in that leg will be St Annes mother-of-three Geraldine McGrane and Freckleton-based Brian Porter, long-time organiser of the village’s annual half-marathon.

Meanwhile, two Fylde teenagers will be running elsewhere in the region.

Katie Barker, a 17-year-old student at Carr Hill, Kirkham will be a torchbearer in Heywood, near Rochdale later the same day. while St Annes teenager Ben Holmes is among the runners ferrying the torch through Fleetwood on June 22.

Katie’s mum died suddenly, days before she was due to take her GCSEs. After she passed them all, teachers and friends nominated her to be an Olympic torchbearer for being so brave.

Ben, 14, of Kilnhouse Lane, St Annes, was nominated by his mum Julia and will be cheered on by plenty of family and friends during his run.

His aunt and uncle Jackie and John live in Fleetwood along with Ben’s cousin Michael, while those travelling from St Annes to cheer him on along with his mum will include brother Joe, 19 and seven-year-old sister Charlie.

Ben, a student at LSA Technology and Performing Arts College, was born with a form of dwarfism and is a sportsman himself, having picked up six medals at the Dwarf Sports Association (UK) National Games in Birmingham earlier this month.

Joining Geraldine and Brian on the St Annes to Lytham leg are Ian Buck, Len Curtis and Jack Taylor (all Blackpool), Trevor Mills (Poulton), Alice Kelly (Warrington), Jane Adlum (Rossendale), Sally Hadley (Bury) and Paul Jasper, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

The five running from Warton to Freckleton, immediately after the St Annes to Lytham leg, will be Jonathan Evans (Elswick), Ryan Thornton (Blackpool), Jack Sharples (Lancaster), Jamie Lingard (Altrincham) and David Johnson from Morecambe.