OUT IN THE FIELD (July 20th): Nothing against the Germans but....

I DEFY anyone who says there’s no such thing any more as community spirit. They should’ve been standing where I was at 2.30pm on Tuesday afternoon when thousands of people gathered across the town to welcome the Olympic torch.

There was a fantastic atmosphere, lots of happy smiling faces, police officers on motorbikes were high-fiving the crowd and the whole town was in festive and carnival mood.

However, and not being one to piddle on anyone’s chips, I have to ask why were there only two locals – the lovely Sue O’Hara and Sue Barber – running with the torch in Eastbourne and not more of our local heroes?

Of 18 torchbearers in Eastbourne, three were from Germany and when I did a bit of digging it appears that sponsors Samsung, Coca Cola and Lloyds were not only able to nominate deserving people to run with the torch but also invite business clients with no tales of worthiness other than presumably a return of a scratched back sometime in the future.

Nothing against the Germans, but a lot of those torchbearers owe their participation in particular to their good connections with the sponsor Samsung as they are managers or business partners of the electronics company and know more about mobile phones, printers and flatscreens than Olympic disciplines.

It’s all rather sad really, especially when you think how many worthy heroes Eastbourne has and what a wonderful opportunity it would’ve been for them to shine on torch day.

A COUPLE of things to finish on this week: I am off to the Emerald Isle on Tuesday for a family wedding so will be handing over the reins to my colleague Richard Morris next week and, providing I don’t miss my flight home again, will be back in two weeks.

Many thanks to the lovely ladies at Hampden Park Women’s Institute for inviting me to talk at their Tuesday meeting and for such a warm welcome.

And finally, my pal Steve Wicking is challenging people to beat him at pool in an 11-hour marathon at Bar Coda in Langney Road on Saturday, July 28, to raise money for Children with Cancer Fund in Polegate.

If anyone beats Steve between noon and 11pm, he will don a tutu and walk from Eastbourne Railway Station all the way up to the seafront and back again.

He’s never lost before so if you fancy your chances, go along to what used to be the Rose & Crown and have a go.