Suffolk: Our county’s Olympic torch bearers revealed

SUFFOLK: Some of the community’s hardest working people have today spoken of their joy at being selected to carry the Olympic torch this summer.

The Olympic flame will visit 16 Suffolk towns and villages in three days in July, including Ipswich, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Melton, Ufford, Wickham Market, Aldeburgh, Saxmundham, Kelsale, Southwold, Reydon, Wrentham, Lowestoft, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket as part of its 8,000-mile journey around the British Isles.

Debbie McCallum, landlady at the Bell Inn at Kesgrave, has been picked to carry the torch in Maldon on July 6 as reward for her work in the community.

Mrs McCallum, a district councillor for Kesgrave West on Suffolk Coastal District Council and one of the key organisers of the Kesgrave Music Festival, said: “I was screaming all day [when I found out I had been chosen]. This will be one of the biggest honours I have ever had.”

Stewart Bethell was nominated by Martin and Hayley Shave for the work he has done to support Camille’s Appeal, a children’s brain tumour charity. He will be carrying the flame for 300m at Bury St Edmunds on July 7.

Mr Blethell, 37, who spent 20 years as a scout leader, said: “It is nice to be recognised like this but I never do this for recognition. It’s very humbling.”

Another of the torch-bearers will be Ryan Jay, who started a youth club – Club 4 Teenz – at Gainsborough Library in 2007 when he was just 14. The 18-year-old, who has managed to attract �20,000 of funding for the club, carries out all his youth work on a voluntary basis and fits it in around an apprenticeship with the library service.

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Mr Jay, who will carry the torch on July 7 at Bury St Edmunds, said: “It is going to be a great opportunity.”

Stowmarket High School year 11 pupil Abi Whitefield is also one of the lucky few to hold the torch after she was nominated by her older brother. As well as volunteering for Suffolk Volleyball, she also helps out at the Museum of East Anglian Life (MEAL) and she was a carer for her mum who suffered from serious illnesses up until last July when sadly she passed away. Abi will carry the torch for 300m in Colchester on July 6.

n Do you know someone carrying the torch and want to send your congratulations? Send the details to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starnews@archant.co.uk

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