Special year for Olympic Torchbearer Margie Doherty

Basingstoke Gazette: Margie with granddaughter Bethany Doherty, seven Buy this photo » Margie with granddaughter Bethany Doherty, seven

FOR many people, 2012 has been one to remember with events such as the London Olympics and Paralympics and The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee capturing the hearts of the nation. And for one Basingstoke pensioner, the past year has been particularly special.

Margie Doherty, 82, was chosen from thousands of deserving people, nominated across the country, to be one of the few lucky torchbearers to carry the Olympic Torch last summer.

And the grandmother, from Abbey Road, Popley, was the only Basingstoke resident to carry the famous flame through her home town as the torch returned to the town for the first time since the 1948 London Olympics.

Looking back on her big day on July 11, Margie said: “It is something I will never forget. I will keep the memories with me forever. It was an extremely special day for me, as so many people came out to see the torch.

“People were recognising me for a while afterwards. They would come up in the street and say ‘Didn’t I see you on the television?’ Some ladies I know still tease me and say that I’m a local celebrity. I even had a Christmas card from someone I met in 1988, asking if it was really me who had carried the torch.”

Margie said she will never sell the torch. She added: “It’s nice to have and also I had to pay £200 for it – I’m not going to be selling it.”

The proud grandmother said she took the torch round to local schools and her local church in the weeks after the relay to give people in the community the chance to hold a piece of history.

Margie was nominated for the torchbearing honour for her many years of volunteer work for charity Shopmobility in Basingstoke.

She gave up the work because of her failing eyesight at the age of 80 but for countless years she has helped customers with mobility chairs, their shopping trips and with anything else they needed.

She has also contributed to the Basingstoke community through her volunteer work with the Boys’ Brigade, local church and through reading with schoolchildren.

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