Former Olympians back campaign

IN former long distance runner Stan Cox Suffolk possibly has one of the only athletes still alive who competed at the Olympic Games the last time they were held in London.

Craig Robinson

IN former long distance runner Stan Cox Suffolk possibly has one of the only athletes still alive who competed at the Olympic Games the last time they were held in London.

Regular walks along the promenade in his home town of Felixstowe ensure the 90-year-old is still as fit as a fiddle and he would like nothing more than to be involved when they come to the capital in a little over three years time.

The Games are expected to be worth nearly �70m to the local economy and the EADT - together with BBC Radio Suffolk, the county council and Suffolk Tourism Partnership - is running a campaign to persuade 2012 chiefs to bring the Olympic or Paralympic torch to the county as part of the relay prior to the opening ceremonies.


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Mr Cox competed in the 10,000m at London in 1948 and in the marathon at Helsinki in 1952 - when he was regarded as one of the best runners in the world.

He said: “I think it would be great if the Olympic torch came to Suffolk - Lowestoft has the most easterly point in the country and I would think that is as good a reason as any.

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“I'm not a Suffolk person - I wasn't born here - but I met my wife in Felixstowe during my time in the RAF and we always said that when I retired we would move back. I finished work when I was 61. That was nearly 30 years ago and I have been here ever since. I love it.

“I'm still fit - in fact people can't believe that I'm 90. I don't think they'll let me carry the torch - I'll be 94 by then - but you never know. It would be good to be able to do something.

“Even if I just run or walk the last few steps and then hand it to someone else. It'd be nice because it will feel like I've come around full circle.”

The aim of the Bring the Torch to Suffolk campaign is to get people to explain why they think the iconic flame should visit the county - whether it's because of its history, landscape, culture, sporting achievements or any other reason.

Fellow Helsinki Olympian Francis Prout, who lives in Debenham, near Stowmarket, said it would be fitting if the relay came to Suffolk in honour of Mr Cox.

“In Stan Cox we also have someone who last competed at the Games in London - it would be very apt for him to have some role to play,” he said. “That alone is a good enough reason.”

Mr Prout, 88, who competed in the doubles canoeing event with his brother Roland, was also full of praise for the county.

“My wife and I moved to Suffolk from Essex and immediately fell in love with the countryside,” he said. “We originally bought our cottage as a weekend retreat but we have now been here 32 years.

“We love it so much. The countryside is so diverse - you don't have to go trekking for miles to find somewhere really nice. It's a wonderful place.”

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