Gerry keeps Olympic dream alive after 60 years

A former Olympic torch bearer from the 1948 Games who was heartbroken when his bid to carry the flame again this year was turned down- is keeping the dream alive by sharing his original beacon with schoolchildren.

Gerry Crocker, 91, of Castle Hill View in Sidford, was an amateur runner with the navy in the 1940s and carried the torch on a leg from Plymouth towards the sailing events in Torbay.

Nowadays he uses a zimmer frame but still wanted to carry the flame if he could.

His family even wrote to Seb Coe to ask that Mr Crocker and his fellow surviving torch-bearers be reunited or re-deployed at the London Games.

These dreams were rejected by the Olympic organisers who were “inundated” with 80 applications per place.

Nonetheless, Mr Crocker resolved to share his torch and his stories with younger generations.

His beacon, worth �2000, was taken to Sidmouth Primary School so that pupils could experience something of the atmosphere and ethos of the 1940s.

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Mr Crocker said: “It’s quite something if they realise that this all went on before and has a history.

“Back then it was all amateur athletics with nothing like the huge organisation behind it like today.”

The pensioner who has limited mobility added: “I watched the torch relay go through Exeter on the television. I would’t miss it for anything.

“The organisation is terrific and its a great way of drawing people in who otherwise wouldn’t be interested in the games.”