Ex-daredevil shows anything is possible

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FORMER daredevil stuntman Eddie Kidd will be one of the Olympic torchbearers in Lewes on July 17, it has been confirmed.

Eddie, 52, suffered serious brain injuries following a crash at a motorcycle rally in 1996, leaving him with severely restricted co-ordination and speech.

Over the past eight years he has fought to regain some of the mobility he lost and completed the London Marathon last year – raising almost £100,000 for charity in the process.

Speaking through his wife Sami, he said: “I’m very proud to carry the torch. It’s the biggest thing I’ve done since jumping the Great Wall of China.”

Eddie first stunned spectators in December 1979 when he jumped 80ft (24m) across a derelict railway bridge in Essex on a 400cc Yamaha.

His achievements culminated in 1993 when he jumped the Great Wall of China and beat Robbie Knievel, son of Evel Knievel, to the stunt bike world championship.

But although his life drastically changed following the crash in Warwickshire three years later, Eddie refused to let his disability get him down.

He took 50 days to complete the 26.2-mile London Marathon last year, walking up to a mile a day with a specially adapted frame.

It was an achievement his wife described at the time as his “greatest feat”, which challenged him both physically and mentally. Sami said: “I’m really proud of him because he’s made British history so many times, and he’s going to be doing it again.

Eddie, of Peacehaven, added: “I’m doing it to show that anything is possible. I will love it. I’m a big show-off ... it will be wicked.”

Eddie will be joined on the Lewes leg of the Olympic torch relay by 18-year-old James Kirby, who has twice had to undergo life-saving transplants but has battled back to become an inspirational local runner and fundraiser.

Having suffered kidney failure at birth, James spent much of his childhood in and out of hospital and as a youngster was unable to join in PE lessons at school. In 2001 he received a kidney from his mum Lisa and went on to scoop four medals at the British Transplant Games.

After that success James, from Eastbourne, was selected to take part in the World Transplant Games where he won another clutch of medals including two golds in badminton and table tennis, a silver in tennis and a bronze in ball throw.

He has raised thousands of pounds for the Children’s Transplant Fund and the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London which helped treat him.

A second transplant was later needed but, just eight weeks after surgery, James was back pounding the streets in a charity run.

Also carrying the torch in Lewes will be local teenager Tom Glenn, 18, Benjamin Feist, 20, from Staines, Gabriella Rogers, 12, from Horsham, Lauren Dolbear, 18, from Hove, Lisa Brack, 41, from Munich, Nick Webborn, 55, from Eastbourne, and Steve Mcmenamin, 44, from Hurstpierpoint.

Eight thousand people have been chosen to carry the flame on its 8,000-mile journey around the UK. It is due to arrive in Lewes shortly after 2pm on July 17 – Day 60 of the torch’s nationwide progress.