The Westmorland Gazette'I've held a torch for the Olympics since I saw the flame in 1948' (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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'I've held a torch for the Olympics since I saw the flame in 1948'

AN Olympics fanatic is hoping to witness a second British torch relay when the iconic flame passes through the Lake District in June.

David Hill, 78, of Thornbarrow Road, Bowness, was just 14 when London hosted the 1948 Olympic Games. That year he and two friends travelled 50 miles from his home in Chatham to Dover so he could cycle beside the torch as it made its way to Maidstone.

And now, 64 years on, he is relishing the prospect of seeing the torch for a second time as it makes its way through South Lakeland on June 21.

Mr Hill said: “1948 was a pretty austere time and there was still a lot of rationing so we had to make the most of anything out of the ordinary. I only got to one Olympic event at White City but we followed the torch for 50 miles.

“There was only one policeman who cycled with the torch and very few crowds came to look at it. When the last runner had finished his route he passed the torch around a dozen of us and it was a very special moment that I will never forget.”

Mr Hill said he found the torch heavy but that it was a real privilege.

“They used an open magnesium flame and there was a spare one in the van to make sure it never went out,” he said. “There was nothing hi-tech like they will use this time around.”

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He said he would love to get the chance to hold the torch when it arrives in Bowness but knows that the security surrounding the relay means he probably will not be afforded that luxury.

“I really hope people come out to support this,” said Mr Hill. “There has been nothing like this for a long time and it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have been lucky to see the torch already, but it would be an honour to see it again in June.”

l Did you see the Olympic torch in 1948? Tell us your story. Contact the newsdesk on 01539 710161.

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