Essex/Suffolk: Marathon runner and recovering alcoholic both named as Olympic torchbearers

INTERNATIONAL athlete Helen Davies (n�e Decker) will be carrying the torch through Hatfield Peverel on July 6.

The marathon runner was nominated for her “absolute dedication, hard work and tireless commitment to distance running”.

Training 100 miles a week in all weathers, Helen gave up her job to concentrate on her running career, giving her all to represent England which she has successfully done internationally.

She has proved an inspiration to young and new athletes at her running club, Ipswich JAFFA, and to local schoolchildren by her frequent school visits and talks about healthy active lifestyles.

She was selected for England at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, 2010, and selected for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the European Championships marathon in Barcelona 2010, winning a team bronze.

Helen was also Team Ipswich Sports Personality of the Year 2010, and Suffolk Sport Sports Personality of the Year runner-up 2010.

RECOVERING alcoholic Richard Fitzsimons was busy trying to get another person nominated as a torchbearer when he discovered he himself had been chosen.

Most Read

Mr Fitzsimons, 45, of Bury St Edmunds, is the treasurer of Focus 12 and was himself a client of the Bury-based charity some years ago.

The Greene King stock operations controller told how he was trying to get Steve Magnall - the chairman of Focus 12’s trustees, nominated as a torchbearer. As it turned out, he too had been nominated for the honour - and both men will be holding aloft the torch for their 300m stretches.

“I really was gobsmacked that I had been nominated, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Mr Fitzsimons. “I am a real believer in the community and that is how Focus 12 operates and I believe events like this can bring communities together and help us all forget our little differences.”

Asked whether he would be sprinting his 300m or savouring every moment of the experience, Mr Fitzsimons said: “I will be going at a slow pace.”

Although all aspects of the torchbearing are rigorously controlled - even down to the plain white trainers - Mr Fitzsimons said: “Hopefully we can raise some awareness of Focus 12.”

He will be carrying the torch on the Bury stretch on July 7.