Brian’s Olympic torch hopes

Charity coast to coast walker Brian Baines shows his blistered right foot
Charity coast to coast walker Brian Baines shows his blistered right foot

A CHARITY worker is a step away from the ultimate honour – carrying the Olympic torch when it arrives in the UK.

Brian Baines, 41, is no stranger to pounding the streets.

Earlier this year, he trekked more than 100 miles in two days for a worthy cause.

Now the Hartlepool man, a project worker for Barnardo’s, has been nominated to be part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

He was put forward by his mother, Eileen Ashley, and said: “It is fantastic news that the torch will be coming through Hartlepool next year.

“I am very proud to have even been nominated and to be in with a chance of carrying the torch through the town is a dream.”

Back in May this year, Brian raised more than £1,000 when he walked from Maryport, in Cumbria, to the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience in 48 hours on behalf of a charity set up by Hartlepool business boss Ian Richardson, 38.

Ian lost his wife Joanne, 40, and daughter Mya, six, in an accident on the A1 in Newcastle in August last year when their car was hit by another which was travelling the wrong way along the road.

Ian and his younger daughter Ava, now aged one, survived the crash and Ian has set up a cause called the Jo and Mya Memorial Trust Fund which aims to support children who have lost loved ones.

The London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will take place in the run up to next year’s Games.

It sees the Olympic flame travelling over 8,000 miles and being carried across the UK over 70 days, before arriving at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, next year, visiting Hartlepool along the way.

Electronics giant Samsung has had over 16,000 nominations from across the UK to participate in the relay and the torchbearers will be announced from early next year.

In July this year, we told how Ian, who won an Award For Inspiration in the Hartlepool Mail’s first Pride of Hartlepool Awards in March, has also been nominated to carry the Olympic Flame with Lloyds TSB, by his friend Julie Liddell, from Hartlepool.