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Holding a torch for East Sussex

PUBLISHED: 13:32 31 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:27 20 February 2013

David Bradford

David Bradford

This summer, the Olympic torch will travel through more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities by 8,000 people. This month we meet the East Sussex torchbearers... <br/><br/><br/><br/>Words: Yvonne Lloyd

Lewes, 17 July



Ben Feist, 20, is a second-year Nursing student at the University of Brighton in Eastbourne, and volunteers for the medical services team for London 2012 as well as for St John Ambulance and the South East Coast Ambulance Service. Since the age of nine, when his eight-year-old cousin Matthew died of a brain tumour, Ben has been a passionate supporter of Shooting Star CHASE hospice care for children and teenagers in Surrey and Sussex, for whom he has raised more than 20,000.
Ben, who was nominated by his mother, Julie, says: I was so surprised to be chosen, as there were more than 17 people competing for each place.
This is about celebrating what everyone has done and achieved for charity, including all those who were not nominated, so I shall be proud to raise the Olympic torch for them.



Eastbourne, 17 July



David Bradford, 29, from Lewes, is a journalist who has been called an inspiration to people facing disability. He was a keen motorcyclist writing for a motorcycle magazine until he started losing his sight to retinitis pigmentosa (RP). He has now taken up running and runs marathons raising funds for RP research.
David was nominated by David Head, chief executive of RP Fighting Blindness, for raising thousands for the charity.
David says: Im a keen athletics fan but I failed to get tickets for the Olympics, so carrying the torch will be a nice way to get involved, even if I cant be there for the actual competition.
I hope it is an experience in the most vivid sense, something to remember in years to come.



Pevensey Bay, 17 July



Derek Mepham, 62, from Punnetts Town near Heathfield first started running for charity at the age of 40, after being inspired by the London Marathon. He has raised funds for a range of causes including a well-building fund for a remote village in Africa, so the people did not have to walk miles every day to fetch water.
Derek was nominated by his wife, Irene, for running 10 marathons and raising 40,000 for Hospice in the Weald.
But Dereks fundraising does not stop at running. He says: Ive walked on hot coals and Ive beaten Colin Jackson up 964 stairs to the top of the BT Tower, by two minutes!
Its a fantastic honour to be chosen to carry the Olympic torch, and I shall carry it for all those sponsors who have supported me over the years.



Bexhill-on-Sea, 17 July



Paul Everest, 47, from St Leonards-on-Sea, is a paramedic for Hastings Ambulance Service and sits on the leadership council for Special Olympics Great Britain, as well as being a head coach. He runs a judo club for adults and young people linked to several special needs schools and the physiotherapy department at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.
Paul, pictured third from left with members of the GB Special Olympics team, was nominated by the club members, many of whom will be cheering him on his torchbearing journey. Paul says: I was chuffed to bits to be nominated and elated to be chosen as its a once in a lifetime opportunity and Im doing it on behalf of the club, which has a great team of volunteers, because its all about involving everyone.



St Leonards-on-Sea, 17 July



Sarah Hatton, 40, from St Leonards-on-Sea, is an aerobics instructor for Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs UK. She suffered complications as a result of colitis which led to bowel surgery, but has made a good recovery and continues to teach five classes a week, volunteer for Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation, and inspire others to lead fitter, healthier lives.
Sarah, who is a mother of two, was nominated by her manager, Marie Dove, because of her professional, positive outlook at all times.
Sarah says: When I found out I had a place I felt excited, scared and very humble because its such a privilege to be part of a historical event like this.
Because of the job I do I know a lot of people, so Im hoping to see lots of familiar faces lining the route to spur me on.

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