THE eyes of the world will be on Sussex later this month when runners and walkers carry the Olympic torch on one of the final stages of its journey.
Lined up to take part in Crowborough on July 17 is Lorraine Mercer, 51 from Haywards Heath. Lorraine was a thalidomide baby, has no proper limbs and was not expected to live when she was born. However her sheer strength of mind has carried her thorugh solo swimathons, fundraising for the RDA, craft and lacework making for charity, winning a Blue Peter badge and winning the RDA dressage silver cup. She was also a winner of a Young Artist award for mouthpainting. Lorraine will be in her specially adapted wheelchair and Wealden District Council has made their Pine Grove HQ available as a ‘base camp’ for her.
Also in Crowborough, mum of two Jo Rout, 36 who won two Paralympic swimming gold medals in South Korea at the age of 12. She was born without a left hand but wanted to prove herself and after her Paralympic wins she joined Beacon Swimming Club as a coach. Ben Stevens, former pupil at Five Ashes Primary School and Beacon Community College coaches lifesavers at the swimming club and studies at Brighton University.
Famous Framfield battler, Bazza West who is confined to a wheelchair after breaking his neck when he swerved to avoid a badger in the road, will grace the streets of Rye with the Olympic torch. Bazza will also take climb Mount Snowdon for charity Back Up. In May this year his mouth paintings were exhibited in public for the first time in Maresfield. Ian Noble from Uckfield will be a torchcarrier in Hastings.