Call for inspirational residents to run with Olympic Flame

Inspirational residents snubbed by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) will get their chance to run with the Olympic torch in Merton this summer.

Not one torchbearer running through Merton on July 23 is from Merton and those from the borough lucky enough to be selected have been told to run elsewhere - including former Olympic Champion Ray Stevens and Haydon the Womble.

But the Wimbledon Guardian is inviting residents to carry an official Olympic torch in a relay at an Olympic Celebration hosted by Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh.

The event, which will feature music, sport, games and a barbecue, will be held at The Hub, home of Tooting and Mitcham football club, on Saturday, July 28.

Miss McDonagh said: "We are happy to have any good causes run with the torch.

"I appreciate it’s not going to be the same as being in the real torch relay but it will be a very nice community day and it’s about making the benefit of the Olympics last longer than just for the month it’s on."

Ray Stevens, former judo Olympic silver medallist who runs his club in Wimbledon, has already lent his support to the event and said he will be taking part.

He said: "It’s nice to do something locally and to create even more enthusiasm than there already is.

"It’s great for people who weren’t selected.

"This event is perfect because it gives people the feeling of being involved and that they have not been forgotten."

Haydon the Womble, will also be taking part. The Wimbledon AFC mascot was told he would be running in neighbouring Sutton and that he would not be able to run as Haydon as it was against torchbearer uniform policy. He said: "There are a lot of people in the borough who weren’t nominated or who were but weren’t selected - they have all played their part in making Merton what it is."

If you know someone who deserves to take part or would like to put yourself forward please email lmay@london.newsquest.co.uk or call 020 87226336.

Commercial organisations can have a stall at the event for £100 which will go toward funding registered charity, The Hub, while voluntary and charitable organisations can host a stall free of charge.

For more information call Nigel on 0208 542 4835.

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