Olympic flame hopes of tragic dad

Ian Richardson taking part in a sposored walk up Roseberry Topping near Guisborough to raise money for a memorial fund
Ian Richardson taking part in a sposored walk up Roseberry Topping near Guisborough to raise money for a memorial fund

AN inspirational dad who threw himself into fundraising after losing his wife and eldest daughter in a car accident has been nominated to carry the Olympic flame.

Ian Richardson, 38, who is a Hartlepool businessman and Billingham resident, is in the running to become one of 8,000 torch bearers.

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Each will carry the torch on a leg of its 70-day journey which starts on Saturday, May 12, next year. Its path will take it from Land’s End before it eventually reaches the Olympic stadium in London.

Today, he said: “To carry the Olympic flame would be a massive honour because it is steeped in history. It is humbling and it would be something monumental.

“As soon as I knew I had been nominated, my thoughts immediately turned to how I could use this to raise awareness for charity.”

Most of the 8,000 places will be made available to the public through the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and its three presenting partners which are Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Ian, who also won an Award For Inspiration in the Mail’s first Pride of Hartlepool Awards in March, has been nominated to carry the Olympic Flame with Lloyds TSB by his friend Julie Liddell, from Hartlepool. She told how Ian had been “a true inspiration showing courage in tragedy,” after his wife Joanne, 40, and eldest daughter Mya, aged six, died in an accident in August last year.

On August 8, 2010, Ian and his family were travelling home from a wedding in Scotland when his car was hit on the A1 in Newcastle by another vehicle travelling the wrong way on the road.

He and his youngest daughter Ava, now aged one, survived the accident.

Since the tragedy, Ian has raised thousands of pounds through challenges which have included abseiling down the side of the Freeman hospital, and climbing four of the UK’s highest mountains.

He has also set up the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund to help children who have lost loved ones.

Now, Julie is hoping Mail readers will support Ian who she described as “an amazing father to Ava – a true inspiration showing courage in tragedy.”

The flame will arrive in Britain on May 18, 2012 and arrive in London the weekend before the start of the Games on July 27.

In between, it will visit more than 70 communities and come within a one-hour journey time of 95 per cent of the population.