Daphne’s all set to carry Olympic torch

PICKED Daphne Laycock

PICKED Daphne Laycock

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Christmas is only ten days away, but for one inspirational Emsworth woman it has come early with the news that she has been selected as a torch bearer for the London 2012 Olympics.

Daphne Laycock thought what came through her letterbox on Thursday was a Christmas present she had ordered over the internet.

But what lay inside was a little badge and a congratulatory note offering the once-in-a-lifetime chance to carry the flame.

The 65-year-old was nominated for the role for her inspirational community work which has included being captain of Emsworth 1st Girls Brigade for more than 20 years.

She is also a well known figure in the town after working at St James Primary School for 13 years as a teaching assistant.

Mrs Laycock, who lives in Christopher Way, said it was exciting and scary to find out.

“I just thought it was something else we had ordered from Amazon, because there was nothing to say what it was,” she said.

She found out she had been nominated several months ago, but thought she stood no chance of progressing through the various stages to the final selection.

Although she has been offered the role, it will be rubber-stamped by the Olympic authority in March.

She doesn’t yet know what part of the route she will be running, but hopes it will be somewhere between Southampton and Portsmouth in July, as that’s the part where her daughter-in-law will be policing the roads while the torch is carried.

She said she will be getting fit in the new year with the help of her son so she is able to enjoy the 300m run with the torch.

Becky Garfield, an 18-year-old who has been under Daphne’s care in Girls’ Brigade for more than seven years said: “She’s a huge inspiration to me and I don’t know where I’d be without her.”