Herald Opinion: Olympic Torch visit... a day for celebration

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THE talk around town this week has been dominated by news of the Olympic Torch’s visit.

The Herald broke the story earlier this year but it was not until this week that the full details emerged.

Now though the town knows exactly where it is coming and exactly who will be carrying it. People can start getting ready for the big day (July 17 – put it in your diaries).

Some eyebrows have been raised over how few local people will actually be ferrying it round the streets of Eastbourne. Torch bearers carrying it through town will hail from other parts of Sussex, London and even Germany.

Quite rightly some locals will say that ALL the carriers should be from Eastbourne. It is, after all, a special day for the town.

That said though, the Olympics are not something limited to one place or another. The London Games it may be, but an international celebration it will certainly remain.

For that reason it is good to see three of our European cousins included on the Eastbourne leg. The town benefits hugely from visiting foreign students, tourists and the increasingly diverse mix of nationalities who now call the town home. It is part of what makes Eastbourne so great and such a wonderful place to live.

There will be a big party in town on the day the torch comes calling. Wouldn’t it be nice if organisers could embrace EVERY nationality that lives locally? Eastbourne in 2012 is becoming more and more multi-cultural. What better time to recognise and celebrate that than an event marking the greatest international sporting event in the world?

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EVERYONE included on the list of torch carriers fully deserves their recognition, so please forgive the Herald for highlighting two over the others.

James Kirby has been an inspiration to many. Having undergone two transplant operations he has still gone on to raise money for charity and compete in the Transplant Games.

Sue O’Hara, whose daughter Tuesday died after a battle with cancer, gives up almost all of her time helping other families get through the same sort of tragic experience she faced. The financial and emotional support she and her charity have provided simply cannot be measured.

When speaking of her selection, Sue said she wished she could let the DGH doctor who treated Tuesday run in her place.

She and James really are amazing people.