Torchbearer is flying the flag for Ripley

A PROUD Waingroves man is to carry the Olympic Torch on behalf of the Ripley and Heanor area this summer.

Former Policeman and NHS worker John Stamp has been selected to carry the torch through the Chesterfield leg of its journey around the country throughout June.

The villager of Queen Street, Waingroves, and chairman of the local woodland trust is ‘over the moon’ at being one of the 8,000 picked for the once-in-a-lifetime honour.

Mr Stamp said: “I knew that I had been nominated by a chap in the village here.

“That was such an honour - it is great that someone thought I was worthy of being nominated.

“When I got the confirmation email I just thought what a fantastic thing to be a part of this event.”

John, who lived in Chesterfielld until he was 17, said he is proud to be running through his home town with the Olympic torch, but he says it is a shame the route will not pass through Ripley and Heanor.

The London 2012 Organising Committee nominations for the torchbearers ran from May to June 2011 and selection panels were held around the UK last autumn.

The torch relay will begin on May 19 and end on July 27, with John expected to take part in Chesterfield on Friday, June 29.

The Waingroves man will run a 300 metre leg of the journey carrying the torch, which will come within ten miles of 95 per cent of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey, according to organisers.

The torch will head from Chesterfield through towards Matlock, then Buxton and Manchester.

But John says he is carrying the torch on behalf of Ripley.

“It really is such a massive event and it’s a great feeling to think I am flying the flag for Ripley,” he said.

John, who lead a campaign to purchase the Waingroves’ Strelley Woods on behalf of the village from its cement company owners, has been inundated with words of support. “People are ringing me to congratulate me!” He said.