Look At It This Way - June 22, 2012

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By the time you read this I shall be on Fleetwood Road cheering an Olympic torch bearer on.

That’s my stretch of the torch relay route, although I’d love to see the torch catch the tram at Rossall for Cleveleys.

Given the Olympic flame’s age it should have a pensioner’s pass.

The Isle of Man has already beaten Blackpool to the novelty of tram travel.

The torch nipped on a tram drawn by a horse called Gwynne in Douglas as part of its relay. It’s also travelled by plane, motorbike, electric railway and RNLI lifeboat. Another tram, at the Black County Living Museum, gets a look-in next Saturday.

There’s something gloriously surreal about the British torch relay.

I’m also delighted by the fact that those chosen to carry it include Blackpool’s own Lisa Daley and her pal Vicky Huyton.

Lisa’s a Blackpool athlete, a visually impaired Great Britain 400m sprinter, who ran the Paralympic B standard earlier this year, competes in European and world championships yet is one of the most self-effacing women I know.

Lisa, at 27, has had an amazing journey in her own right. She’s currently aiming for selection in the Paralympic 200m and 400m events.

When she’s not working at Blackpool Council she trains at the local athletics club, volunteers at school and community events and teaches at the very club which got her into athletics 15 years – the Blackpool Bears Multi Disability Sports Club.

Her mate Vicky, who’s carrying the torch in Fleetwood, also volunteers up to 30 hours a week, coaching in Blackpool, in Manchester, in schools, community groups, looking after athletes aged 10-27, athletes with disabilities, others. All at her own expense and in her own time. If that’s not enough, she sits on a UK wide group encouraging more female coaches to follow suit.

You really can’t praise the Lisa’s and Vicky’s of this world enough – and I think that’s what adds to the emotional attachment experienced every step of the way on the torch relay.

These unsung heroines and heroes are there on merit alone. How often can you see that in a world which values celebrity above substance? Or where a big name entertainer can help present a jubilee concert one day and hit the headlines for an elaborate avoidance of paying tax in full the next?

Here are people prepared to go the extra mile for what they believe in. And that matters. That’s the true spirit of the Olympics.

n We’re being asked to bail out the stricken Eurozone again. May I suggest we make our contribution commensurate with whatever score those countries accorded us in Eurovision? For the record, Britain’s dozen points came from Estonia (5), Ireland (4), Latvia (2) and Belgium (1).

n Loved the Pensioners’ Parliament’s cabbages and kings’ protest against the non-appearance of yet another Government minister – plonking a cabbage where he should have sat. Of course, the byproduct of both is hot air but I’m hoping the cabbage makes it to Question Time. Probably talks more sense.