Norwich vicar and his dog will provide “two dog collars for the price of one” for Olympic Torch Relay
A Norwich vicar and his guide dog have been chosen to carry the Olympic torch this summer, after winning over organisers with their offer of 'two dog collars for the price of one'.
Canon Simon Stokes, 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 around 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.
He said: 'I am both excited and honoured to have been chosen to carry the torch. Tigger is excited too, and is already anticipating with relish the extra fuss and attention he'll receive.
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'We work well as a team, and provide two dog-collars for the price of one.'
Canon Stokes, a father-of-three who is married to Christine, already has impressive sporting credentials, having twice completed the gruelling Beachy Head Marathon on the South Downs.
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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 continued: 'I'm not a regular runner – I just like to do mad things and find ways of pushing myself to the limit.'
The exact location of Canon Stokes' leg of the torch relay will not be revealed until a month before, but he is already looking forward to the occasion.
'I keep hearing people telling me that they will be out there on the route to cheer everyone on and watch,' he added.
'I find it quite overwhelming. I'd known for several months that there were a possibility of me being chosen, but I didn't hear anything for so long that I assumed I hadn't made it.'
Canon Stokes is an honorary canon of Norwich Cathedral, but is also well known in parishes across Norfolk, having served as a curate at Christchurch Church, in New Catton, and as a vicar in King's Lynn. He returned to Norwich in 2006 to be minister at Bowthorpe and moved to Sprowston in September of last year.
Despite being registered as blind, Canon Stokes has run marathons with Tigger, taught in India and sailed as a boson's mate on a tall ship across the Atlantic.
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