THIS July dozens of people from across our region have been selected to take part in the prestigious Olympic torchbearers relay.
But some of those taking part have been dismayed to find that they are being asked to carry the torch in a stage miles from home.
And at the same time others from outside the region will be joining the relay in their home town.
Gerry North, 75, has been involved in athletics for the past six decades and was given The News sports lifetime achievement award last December.
He had a successful national and international running career and has become a legend for his work and coaching with the City of Portsmouth Athletics Club.
He said: ‘For some reason they’ve given me a slot in East Cowes. I do feel very honoured, but I would have preferred a slot in Portsmouth.
‘It does seem a bit strange that they’ve got people from all over the place running in Portsmouth, but someone like me, who’s got very strong ties to the city, is getting sent to the Isle of Wight.
‘I have contacted them to ask if it’s possible for it to be changed, but I haven’t had a response yet.
However, Annette Ablitt, from Drayton, will also be carrying the torch in East Cowes.
Ms Ablitt said: ‘Originally I was given a leg in Aberdeen and I have no idea how they decided that. But then they changed it and I was really pleased to get a Saturday afternoon on the Isle of Wight.
‘All my family come from Essex so they are going to come along for the day as well. I’m really excited.’
The 50-year-old was nominated by her manager at the Holiday Inn in Portsmouth for her charity work, and she also helps care for her partner Craig McConnachie, who has the degenerative neurological condition, Huntington’s disease.
A London 2012 spokeswoman said: ‘The torchbearers are mostly running within an hour of their nominated postcode. Because of the logistics it hasn’t been possible to do that in every case.
‘We have tried to achieve it where possible, but if you can imagine some 8,000 torchbearers, getting them all into exactly where they live, it is a logistical problem.
‘We also work with international partners and they have invited people from overseas to take part as well, which is how some foreign runners are involved in various legs.’
WHO IS RUNNING WHERE
There are two days from Fareham to Portsmouth in which the torch will be carried by 35 people of whom 20 are from the area.
Kim Hosier, 51, from Portsmouth
Andy Macklin, 55, from Southampton
Andy Rogers, 55, from Fareham
Cathy Holc-Thompson, 45, from Havant
Derek Wood, 86, from Farnborough
Flavia Trewin, 54, from Fareham
Rich Opperman, 43, from Basingstoke
Alexandra Rickham, 30, from Epsom
Chris Adams, 45, from Havant
Henry Port, 13, from Petersfield
Karen Williams, 49, from Gosport
Paul Curtis, 41, from Fareham
Luke Earley, 21, from Southampton
Ayesha MacLelland, 18, from Gosport
Chris Smith, 18, from Stockbridge
Daphne Laycock, 66, from Emsworth
Gillian Skeen, 49, from Romsey
Sam Smith, 14, from Kings Worthy
Sue Groves, 60, from Southampton
Ben Godbold, 19, from Gosport
Bianca Kopp, 31, from Vienna, Austria
Christopher Brown, 24, from Romsey
Fergus Carter-Brazier, 18, from Waterlooville
Jonathon Bamber, 26, from Portsmouth
Louis Faith, 18, from Portsmouth
Margaret Hyde, 63, from Fareham
Neil Mundy, 50, from Denmead
Simon Coutaud, 29, from Portsmouth
April Hornsey, 15, from Southsea
Bron Carter, 60, from Waterlooville
Franck Aragnou, 39 from Moret Sur Loing, France
Gareth Ferguson, 32, from Chichester
John Barnes, 45, from Arundel
Mark Jago, 51, from Brighton
Vickie Berridge-Brown, 22, from Hove
In addition 10 people from the Portmouth area are running elsewhere.
Kwesi James, 12, from Portsmouth, will run in Southampton
Annette Ablitt from Portsmouth, Gerry North from Portsmouth and Ruth Smith, 16, from Waterlooville, will all run in East Cowes
Hattie Gould, 16, from Fareham will run in Totland
Laura Carlisle, 16, from Fareham will run in The Needles
Sarita Jarrett, 39, from Havant will run in Carisbrooke
Amy Wilton, 17, from Fareham will run in Midhurst
Sammie Roden, 34, from, Portsmouth will run in Tillington
Vicky Scott, 32, from Fareham will run in Chichester