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Official London 2012 'snub' for veteran of 1948 Olympic torch

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: June 29, 2012

Bob Tutton, 82, carried the Olympic torch in Yeovil in 1948 but isn’t invited to the 2012 opening ceremony

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A pensioner who carried the Olympic torch through Yeovil as a young boy 64 years ago has spoken of his “disappointment” at apparently being left out of this year’s celebrations in London.

Yeovil born Bob Tutton, 82, is thought to be one of only three surviving torch bearers from the tour around the country prior to the 1948 games.

Last year, Mr Tutton, who now lives in Reading, retraced the steps he took on his important task as a schoolboy all those years ago and was featured on the BBC.

He claims he was led to believe he would be joining the other remaining 1948 torchbearers at the Olympics opening ceremony in London on July 27.

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He said: “I met up with another surviving torchbearer, Charles McIlvenny, from Langley near Slough.

“We were both led to expect to be involved in some way, however small, at the 2012 opening ceremony,” he said.

“In spite of letters to the Olympic planning committee and Lord Coe by myself and our local MP, we are still awaiting for that elusive invitation – even to a seat in the stands. We have been ignored which is hardly the way to acknowledge our part in the 1948 austerity games 64 years ago.”

When Mr Tutton heard the Olympic torch was due to travel through Reading next month, he immediately nominated his 13-year-old granddaughter Mya to carry the flame which he said would have “meant an enormous amount” to the former headmaster.

Initially he didn’t hear anything back and was left disillusioned with this year’s celebrations. Then last week he received a letter from the local authority in Reading inviting him to take part in an event to mark the torch coming to the city on July 10. He is due to be interviewed the following day by the BBC.

He added: “The reason they said they forgot about me was because I wasn’t born in Reading. I’ve lived here for 42 years.

“This year, you hear an enormous amount about the sponsors. I think it’s terrible. And the torches being sold – mine’s going to my grandson. It’s a family heirloom.”

As a pupil at Yeovil Grammar School, Mr Tutton was picked for the Olympic honour for his achievements in running – he had competed for Somerset. His torch was ignited at the Toll House at the bottom of Babylon Hill and he ran it on the next leg into Yeovil, lighting another athlete’s torch at Hendford Hill.

He said: “That was that – no police or stewards – just a beautiful night, perfect for running, which was a big part of my life.”

A spokesman for Olympic organisers LOCOG said: “Mr Tutton has been in touch with us. We are in discussion with him and are looking at several options to involve him.”

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