Olympic medallist backs torch campaign

OLYMPIC bronze medallist Sharon Hunt has backed the EADT campaign to bring the 2012 torch to Suffolk as part of the build up to the London Games.

Craig Robinson

OLYMPIC bronze medallist Sharon Hunt has backed the EADT campaign to bring the 2012 torch to Suffolk as part of the build up to the London Games.

The 30-year-old, from Great Saxham, near Bury St Edmunds, was a member of the British eventing team that finished third in Beijing.

On her Olympic debut and riding her top horse, Tankers Town, she impressed in the dressage, cross country and jumping phases.

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Last night she lent her support to the EADT backed campaign to bring a leg of the traditional Olympic or Paralympic torch relay to Suffolk in the run up to the London Games.

“The torch is such an historic and iconic symbol of the Olympics and it would really be fantastic if it came to our county in the build up to London 2012,” she said. “I know that there are many sporting and other projects in Suffolk that focus on the 2012 Olympics and I feel that the county has much to offer - bringing the torch to Suffolk would be an excellent way of recognising the enthusiasm people in the area have for the London Olympics.

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“Our proximity to the capital also makes this campaign all the more significant. As a Suffolk-based Olympian, I really hope to see a leg of the torch's relay in Suffolk.”

London 2012 is expected to be worth nearly �70m to the local economy and those spearheading the county's preparations are keen to ensure it makes the most of the opportunity.

As a result 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.

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

Tim Yeo, MP for South Suffolk, said if the torch was to visit Suffolk it would be a fitting tribute the great number of sport enthusiasts who live in the county.

“It would also be very important in terms of tourism,” he said. “Constable Country is a huge part of our heritage and inspired one of our greatest ever painters. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to promote that. With the current economic climate I think domestic interest is likely to increase because people may not be able to travel abroad. Anything that helps to increase that interest is extremely welcome.”

Anyone who has ideas on why the torch should come to Suffolk can contact Adam Baker at Suffolk County Council at adam.baker@acs.suffolkcc.gov.uk or by calling 01473 260821.

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