Norwich vicar meets Sir Chris Hoy ahead of Olympic torch relay

A blind vicar got the chance to meet track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy as he prepares for his moment to shine as an Olympic torch-bearer.

As previously reported in the Evening News, Canon Simon Stokes has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch this summer,

The vicar of Sprowston will escort the torch on one of its 300m legs in Norwich on July 4, assisted by his guide dog, Tigger. The pair are among about 8,000 carriers who will help the torch on its journey around the UK ahead of the start of the games on July 27.

The 49-year-old, who is registered blind, was nominated by colleagues at his former church in Bowthorpe, in recognition of his fundraising work in the community. In the run-up to the torch relay, the father-of-three was one of just 15 people hand-picked to spend time with the four-time Olympic champion. He said: 'It's all still come as a massive shock to me. Sir Chris Hoy is not someone I would expect to have ever met.

'When I mentioned to people I was going to meet him they were all very jealous. It was my first opportunity to touch the torch. I'm not able to see pictures of it obviously so it was great to know what I'll be holding. It was a lot lighter than I expected.'

Canon Stokes has twice completed the Beachy Head Marathon on the South Downs. He also jumped out of a plane three years ago to raise thousands for the Bowthorpe Community Trust, a charity that works with adults who have learning difficulties.

He was given the chance to meet Sir Chris thanks to Lloyds TSB, the national presenting partner for the London 2012 Olympic torch relay.

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Don't miss our Olympics supplement London Calling, free with the Evening News on May 29.

Have you got an Olympic story? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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