Olympic torchbearers cash in by selling torches on eBay
Monday 21 May 2012
Olympic torchbearers have cashed in on their once-in-a-lifetime privilege by selling their torches on eBay.
Before the first day of the relay was completed, the gold torches appeared on the online auction site.
The torches have fetched more than £150,000.
One torch used on Saturday is currently attracting bids of more than £30,000.
The seller lists the item as: “An amazing sporting souvenir, be one of the first to have one!”
Some torchbearers have pledged to donate the proceeds from the sale to charity.
One, who will be carrying the Olympic Flame on July 11, wrote: “I was chosen to be a torch bearer because of the money I've raised for various charities, many of them who have helped my son who has cerebral palsy.”
Sellers have also auctioned off the uniform they wore while carrying the flame.
The London 2012 torch relay entered its third day today.
Communities stretching from Exeter to Taunton will see dozens of unsung and hard-working individuals get their moment in the spotlight.
They will carry the Olympic Flame alongside some of Britain's top sport stars.
Ashes-winning cricketer Marcus Trescothick and Olympic gold medal-winning triple jumper Jonathan Edwards are among more than 100 torchbearers who will get to hold the flame.
The other torchbearers range in age from children from Minehead School to 91-year-old Arthur Gilbert.
Mr Gilbert will be one of the oldest of the 8,000 torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame on the way to the July 27 opening ceremony.
The nonagenarian, from Burnham on Sea, will carry the flame through Minehead.
His nomination said he received an MBE in 2008 to recognise 35 years of charity work.
Mr Gilbert ran his first triathlon at the age of 68 and completed his most recent race in June last year in 2 hours 45 minutes 43 seconds.
“Arthur lost his son and his wife to cancer recently, looking after both of them at home and still keeping his training going,” his nominator said.
“He is a shining example to all the young people who use the local sports facilities and has a large following of supporters.”
Milkman James Winter, 40, from Chard, will also carry the torch in Minehead.
His nominator said: “The community he delivers the milk in rely on him to be there in all weathers.
“Even in the deepest snow he manages to deliver extra milk and make sure the elderly people on his round are OK and have enough suppliers.
“He goes out of his way to call on people to check they are OK on a weekly basis.”
Mr Winter has also completed the London marathon three times for charity.
Organisers will be hoping for a repeat of the scenes on the first two days of the relay when excited people packed the streets of Cornwall and Devon to catch a glimpse of the torch.
Yesterday began at the Plymouth Life Centre with the torch in the hands of 18-year-old Jordan Anderton.
Inspirational former Royal Marine Mark Ormrod, who lost an arm and two legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, was a torchbearer in Plymouth.
The relay travelled from Plymouth, through Totnes, Paignton and Torquay on the Devon south coast, before finishing in Exeter for an evening celebration.
More than 8,500 people filled Exeter Cathedral Gardens to watch a live show of music and dance.
The convoy travelling with the flame is made up of 14 core vehicles, including a pilot car, torchbearer drop-off and pick-up shuttles. There are also sponsors, media and security vehicles plus a command car.
The lead convoy provides some entertainment for the crowds. The torchbearer follows about five to seven minutes later.
A crew of approximately 350 people are set to be working on each day of the 70-day relay.
The relay also relies on the work of staff from London 2012, the Metropolitan Police Torch Security Team, the sponsors plus the host police forces and town halls.
Sarah Milner Simonds, from Burnham-on-Sea, has received a bid of more than £150,000 for her Olympic torch on eBay.
“It only occurred to me to do it on Saturday night,” she told BBC Breakfast.
“The sale closed last night at 10 o'clock and the final bid was £153,000.”
The torchbearer, who was nominated for her work as a community gardener for the People's Plot, said she put her torch up for sale to raise money for the project she represents.
But she said she was dismayed that people who objected to her decision had started sending her abusive emails.
“Obviously it has really upset people but I think that it's not something that is really me to keep my shiny trophy on a mantelpiece when it is obvious how much good one can do with the money that someone might be willing to pay for it.”
Ms Milner said she still needed to check if the £153,000 bid was genuine.
“It is an extraordinary amount of money, but of course when I realised that the first torch was on eBay and sold for over £3,000 I thought 'Oh my gosh, that is obscene, imagine what good you could do with £3,000'.”
Ms Milner will be carrying the flame through the village of Dunster this afternoon.
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