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Brian picked to carry the Olympic torch

- 21st Jun 2012
Brian picked to carry the Olympic tourch

Brian Leigh, a member of Stockport Harriers, will be one of the torchbearers on Sunday 24th June 2012 to carry the Olympic flame along the A6 as part of the Stockport leg of the 8,000 mile journey that finishes at the London Olympic Stadium as part of opening ceremony on 27th July 2012.

Joining the club in 1980 Brian has competed at distances from 400 metres on the track to Marathon with a best time of 3 hours 20 minutes.

The talk of a synthetic athletics track was first discussed over an “after training night drink” at the Golden Hind Public House, Offerton back in the early 1980s. Despite the doubters who dismissed the idea as an impossible mountain to climb. A group of more positive and like minded determined athletes launched the Stockport Athletic Track Appeal (SATA).

Between 1983 – 1987 Brian was Chairman of the Stockport Athletic Track Appeal. A joint campaign with Manchester Harriers & Athletic Club to replace the cinder tracks at Woodbank Park and William Schoels Park in Gatley for a synthetic surface.

The appeal was successful and in conjunction with Stockport council, £330,000 of funding, sufficient for one synthetic track was secured. After careful consideration the track was laid at Woodbank Park in Offerton, Stockport.

Upon completion of the campaign Brian was track manager at Woodbank Park for 2 years.

In 1986 he staged for the club's 75th Anniversary a 5 mile road race in Reddish that was won by Charlie Spedding the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic bronze medallist in the Marathon and 1984 London Marathon Champion.

In 2011 he promoted the Len Mullen Memorial Cross Country races in aid of The Christies as part of the club's Centenary celebrations in October that year. The men’s race attracted top class field which was won by the 2011 National Cross Country Champion Steve Vernon. Brian arranged for a vest signed by World 5,000 metres Champion Mo Farrah to be donated to the club's centenary event.

He is also actively involved in raising funds for other charities including:- Help for the Heroes, Ghurkhas, Guide dogs for the blind, Beech Wood trust, Macmillan cancer trust.

With the rest of his spare time Brian is the Chairman of two National caged bird clubs. He is the show manager and fund raiser for two local cage bird societies and past chairman of the friends of Stockport cemeteries. He has raised approximately £1,000 a year collectively for these charities over the last 15 years.

Brian says “I was initially reluctant to be nominated, I never thought my modest athletic career would take me from a water logged cinder track first laid in 1952 to carrying the Olympic flame. I am honoured to be representing Stockport in this once in a lifetime opportunity I would like to thank my nominator ”

Brian was nominated by John O’Brien from Manchester Harriers & Athletic Club .

“I am very pleased that the contribution Brian has made to improve athletics facilities in the borough of Stockport has been recognised by the 2012 Olympic Games Torch Relay Judges. Brian is a credit to his sport. Everyone involved in local athletics has benefited from his leadership and drive.”