Torchbearer David sets sights on swap

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ONE of the people chosen to carry the Olympic Torch through the streets of Eastbourne is hoping another lucky local will agree to a swap.

David Bradford was delighted to hear he had been selected to take part in the fast-approaching nationwide relay only to find out he had been pencilled in to take part in Eastbourne rather than his hometown of Lewes.

He was quick to point out how grateful he is to even be included, but said he has been left disappointed by the fact friends and family will have to take time off and trek to Eastbourne to cheer him on.

And it was made all the more frustrating by the fact runners from Eastbourne have been earmarked for the Lewes leg – hence his appeal for someone to swap slots.

Mr Bradford was picked out from thousands of nominations after the selection panel was won over by his commitment to running.

The 29-year-old journalist is losing his sight as a result of retinitis pigmentosa and his condition meant he was no longer able to drive.

Because of that he put all his energy and enthusiasm into running and in 2010 managed to complete the London Marathon in a remarkable time of two hours and 38 minutes.

He raised thousands of pounds for research into his condition and has been organising events and races ever since.

A friend suggested swapping torch spots with another local runner and he has been in touch with the Eastbourne athletes set to jog through Lewes, but is still waiting to hear back from them.

One person who may be interested is 18-year-old James Kirby. The teenager has battled adversity to take part in the World Transplant Games and was delighted to discover he had been included in the relay.

However, much like Mr Bradford, James has been allocated a stretch in Lewes rather than his home town of Eastbourne.

James has had to undergo life-saving transplants but battled back to become an inspirational local runner and fundraiser. As well as his raft of medals and prizes, the teenager was given an Eastbourne Achiever award and is regularly praised for his determination and willingness to put himself out for others despite his disadvantages.

Mr Bradford is now keeping his fingers crossed that James, or another local runner, will agree to the swap and that organisers give the deal their approval.

r Have you been chosen to carry the torch? Would you like to swap with Mr Bradford? Email us at eastbourne.herald@trbeckett.co.uk.