The Wimbledon Guardian is today calling on our readers to help us celebrate the Olympics coming to Merton despite our local heroes being sent elsewhere.

Not a single person from Merton is believed to be running through the borough when the Olympic torch passes through on July 23 and even Haydon the Womble has now been exiled.

Dean Parsons, the man behind the Womble, thought Haydon would carry the torch through Sutton but on Friday was told AFC Wimbledon's mascot was banned from the parade.

Organisers have insisted he ditch his much-loved alter ego and run in the official torch bearer uniform because of commercial sensitivities.

He said: “I was nominated because of the work I do when I’m inside Haydon so I would have liked Haydon to be recognised for that as much as myself.

"It’s through him that I get involved with charity work and the things I was nominated for.

“I would have preferred to run it as Haydon but I’m still very proud to run as myself in Sutton.

“When there are 8,000 people I can understand how difficult it is.”

When asked why Mr Parsons could not run as Haydon the Womble, a spokesman for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games said: "All torchbearers were asked to agree to certain terms and conditions for them to run.

"He needs to wear the official uniform.

"He can’t wear any other clothing with the uniform. He can’t display signage or logos to promote a product or service."

Three more Merton residents are carrying the flame, but nowhere near where their friends and relatives would expect them to represent their communities.

Even a Milton Keynes resident was selected by Olympics organisers to carry the flame through Merton, despite Wimbledon fans seeing their football club moved to Buckinghamshire a decade ago.

Simon Wheeler, chairman of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association, said: "It does seem strange the organisers couldn’t arrange for people from a particular conurbation to run through their community and represent Merton.

"It’s strange that a man from Milton Keynes is being brought down to Merton to run. I think it’s deeply ironic for Wimbledon.

"It’s unfortunate for him and ironic for us that he’s been chosen to run through Merton."

Pasa Mustafa, 21, from Morden, will also be carrying the torch but will have to travel an hour-and-a-half to run in Redbridge, east London, on July 22.

The second year animation student at Bournemouth University, who was nominated after setting up his own football team, said: "I’m really proud to carry it for my country.

"I was born and bred in Morden and spent most of my life here.

"I think it would have made more sense to do it here but they are choosing 8,000 people and to allocate spaces must be difficult.

“It would have made more sense if people were running in their area, but it’s not just Merton.

"I know people from Newcastle having to run in Wales.

"I think they could have managed it better but we are lucky enough to get chosen."

His mum, Sandra Mustafa, 48, said: “I’m very disappointed because it would have been great to be running here in the community where you were born and raised.

"I think they really should have tried at least to get a couple of people from the area.”

The Wimbledon Guardian's Olympic pledge

So instead, we are calling on you to send us your nominations and we will celebrate the work you have done to promote sport and the community in Wimbledon, Mitcham and Morden.

If you nominated someone, to be a torchbearer, or would like to nominate someone, let us know by calling 020 8722 6333 or by emailing: and we will tell our readers about the good work you do.

The leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis, has backed the plan and said he would ask fellow councillors to help us celebrate what is meant to be the Londoners’ Games.

He said: “We need to acknowledge those from Merton who are taking part and anything that raises the profile of deserving and community-based residents is a good way forward.

“It would have been great if we had torchbearers running from the borough who were also residents but Locog is the power on these issues.”