PROUD schoolboy Alfie Rawding is carrying a small slice of Olympics history – the torch his late grandfather ran through the streets with the last time the Games came to London in 1948.
The tall aluminium pole was a source of wonder at Mill Hill Primary in Waterlooville where the nine-year-old pupil lovingly showed it to all his friends.
Against the backdrop of this year’s relay involving 8,000 torch-bearers, Alfie recounted the story of Douglas Gordon Rees who carried the flame on behalf of Portsmouth Athletic Club more than six decades ago.
Alfie said: ‘Everyone’s talking about the Olympics and I thought people would be excited to see an old Olympics torch.
‘It was only the second time I had ever held the torch and I felt a bit sad because it brought back memories of my grandad who was an amazing man. He is my hero.
‘I feel so proud that he was chosen to carry the torch. He was very shy and didn’t tell a lot of people, but he was a great sportsman.
‘The torch is very heavy and I can imagine he must have been tired and nervous, because it was such an important occasion!’
He added: ‘One day I would love to carry the torch and run like my grandad, even though he was very fast.
‘I hope he’s looking down on me and feels proud that I am telling everyone about it.’
Douglas Rees, a founding member of the Havant Rugby Club, was originally from Wales and moved to Portsmouth to take up work as a shipwright in the dockyard.
He was 22 years old when he was picked to run with the Olympic torch – just one year before he met his wife Audrey.
Mrs Rees, 83, of Cowplain, admits it was emotional watching her grandson stand up in assembly.
She said: ‘Doug would have been thrilled to see Alfie talking to his school about the 1948 Olympics.
‘Having them in our country this year brings back a lot of memories of Doug, who is thoroughly missed.’