Thetford community worker to carry Olympic flame
A community stalwart who transformed his life in recent years has been told he will carry the Olympic torch when it reaches the region next year.
As a torchbearer, Carl Clark, 49, will run 300 metres with the iconic flame in reward for his hard work in the community.
Mr Clark, of Ripon Way, Thetford, a Breckland and Thetford town councillor for the Thetford Abbey ward and a pastoral outreach worker at the Bishops Primary School, was nominated by Thetford Healthy Towns for his work, including running a boxing club for young people and a cycle share scheme.
He was told before Christmas that he would carry the torch for part of its journey between Chelmsford and Cambridge on July 7, surrounded by his family and friends.
'I was speechless as it sunk in,' he said.
'A lot of it's going to be televised so a lot of people are going to be watching – I'm excited; I'm feeling good about it. It's also going to be a really good thing for Thetford.'
Mr Clark's cycle share scheme has taken in and redistributed hundreds of bicycles to young people and those in need around the town.
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He also runs a boxing club at the Abbey Community Centre on Thursday evenings for children and young people.
His life however is a far cry from a few years ago when he suffered a serious back injury and found himself homeless following the breakdown of his first marriage.
After finding a job, however, he was able to get himself back on track and remarried in 2007.
He also credits much of his success to his mother, Heather Page. 'It's amazing how my life has turned around,' he said.
'I'm not somebody who just lies around – it's just going to be amazing. There are lots of things coming out of the Olympics and it's going to be a really good thing for Britain.
'I'm just going to jog it and enjoy every second. I'm really looking forward to it.'
Some 8,000 inspirational people will carry the Olympic flame through Britain as part of the torch relay which the London 2012 Organising Committee selected from more than tens of thousands of nominations.
Holly Gilbert, from Thetford Healthy Towns, said Mr Clark thoroughly deserved his place and added: 'He's done so much, has so many groups and is involved with all sorts of things in the community – he's a great ambassador.
'There were a lot of people put forward and the odds are quite against you but we also thought he had a good chance because he does a lot.
'We're really pleased he'll be carrying the torch.'