Carl’s torch pain is David’s gain

A COMMUNITY servant who will carry the Olympic torch has thanked the councillor whose place he has taken.

David Pickup, 33, from Thetford, said there was ‘no way to repay the favour’ after Carl Clark nominated him to carry the flame through Newport, in Essex, on July 7.

“To be nominated by him must mean that he thinks highly of me and the feeling is mutual. It’s the sort of thing you don’t even dream of doing,” he said.

Cllr Clark, a Thetford town councillor, had been picked as a torchbearer after he was nominated for his work with various community schemes on the Abbey Estate and beyond. But Olympic organisers stripped him of the privilege after discovering that he was a Labour party member.

He did not hesitate in selecting Mr Pickup to replace him on the route after they had worked together at Bishops Primary School, at Cllr Clark’s boxing club and on the Bike It scheme.

He said: “A lot of people were gutted when I told them I couldn’t do it but I told them not to worry because we have someone else from the community to step in.

“David is full of life and he’s great with the children so I’m glad to have him do it.

“I really love it here, it’s a fantastic little town and I am just pleased there is going to be someone from Thetford carrying the torch.”

Bishops Primary School is also set to benefit from David’s participation after he said plans had been made to purchase a torch replica and display it in the school.

Each of the 8,000 torchbearers will have the chance to buy the replica they carry for £190.

The torches will be carried an average of 300 metres by each bearer, with 10 minutes to complete the distance.

David said he expected to be well supported by friends and family from Thetford and the South West.