Jun 8 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
TORCHBEARERS are gearing up for their spell in the sporting spotlight as the London 2012 Olympic Torch relay prepares to enter the Stirling area this week.
Denny’s John Brown (65) has been coaching canoe slalom for over 30 years and currently teaches part-time at the Central Region Canoeing Advanced Training squad, known as CR Cats.
He trained Bridge of Allan’s Campbell Walsh – who has also been named as a torchbearer – and Fiona Pennie, who both competed in the Beijing Olympics.
John was nominated for the accolade by former Olympian Stewart Pitt, who paddled with his mentor’s son, Craig, at the 1996 Games in Atlanta.
Speaking to the Observer, he described being named as a torchbearer as a “great privilege” and said he was pleased that some of the youngsters he coaches have been given the chance to line the route.
“It’s not going to be a physical ordeal, it’s walking 300 yards or so, so the main thing for me is to make sure I enjoy it,” he said.
He continued: “I was a teacher for 44 years and have been coaching for the last 30, I’m planning to coach for another four or five years before calling it a day.
“Most things to do with coaching and the sporting world aren’t particularly well paid and involve anti-social hours – the pleasure for me is nurturing talent and seeing people go on to a higher level.”
The recently-retired former head of mathematics at Denny High School also said that he felt the future of the sport he loves is in rude health, particularly since the installment of a dedicated national coach.
Courageous Callander man Paul McIntyre (22), who has previously defied the odds to complete the London Marathon despite suffering from Becker Muscular Dystrophy, is one of the other inspirational figures taking part in the Stirling leg of the relay.
Balquhidder adventurer Vicky Jack (58) and the deputy head of Dunblane’s Newton Primary School, Heather White (37), will carry the torch as it passes through Bridge of Allan and Dunblane, respectively.
Stirling swimmer Martin Cremin (20) will get the chance to follow in some illustrious sporting footsteps when the relay visits Crianlarich tomorrow (Saturday).
Several other locals have been chosen to take part. Balfron soldier Robbie Donaldson (28) will carry the flame aloft during part of its journey through Alloa.
Tomorrow (Saturday), the iconic flame will pass through Crianlarich at around 11.15am along the A82 past the Station Tea Room, the train station and under the low bridge before heading on to the main street.
The torch will visit Tyndrum at roughly 11.30am, staying on the A82 and moving in the direction of Lower Station Road before arriving at the Tyndrum Louge Hotel.
Torchbearers will re-enter the local area on Wednesday, June 13, at Clackmannan Road in Alloa just after 9am. The flame will be carried along the A907 through King Street for a period of approximately 15 minutes.
Locals are expected to line the streets when the torch starts its Bridge of Allan leg at Wallace High School. Runners will head along Airthrey Road, passing the entrance to the University of Stirling at approximately 9.50am, and continue along Henderson Street prior to the torch being ferried to Dunblane.
Cathedral city residents will get their first glimpse of the sporting symbol at about 10.15am. Relay participants will carry the flame along Stirling Road and Beech Road before travelling along the entire length of the High Street – passing the library and the Drummond Rise – before rejoining Perth Road and heading back in the direction of Stirling, at around 10.30am.
In Stirling itself, the torch will be taken from Albert Place and begin its trip to Clarendon Place at roughly 10.35am. It will be conveyed along Corn Exchange Road five minutes later, before runners move along Spittal Street, passing Allan’s Primary School at about 10.43am.
Spectators are then expected to converge on Stirling Castle Esplanade shortly after 10.45am where there will be a short break for a photo opportunity.
A convoy will then transport the flame from the castle at 11am and the relay will resume at Albert Place at 11.05am, before heading along Dumbarton Road, Port Street and St Ninians Road – passing Stirling Council’s Viewforth HQ at 11.10am – before finishing its journey at the city’s Beechwood Park/Bellfield Road junction at 11.20am.
‘It’s not going to be a physical ordeal, it’s walking 300 yards or so, so the main thing for me is to make sure I enjoy it’ Torchbearer John Brown (65)Torchbearer John Brown (65)