AFTER a long battle with cancer, a Wigan running champion is bidding to carry the Olympic torch ... at the tender age of 80.
Local cinema manager Derek Fuller has already received the support of friends in high places, and the enthusiastic pensioner still runs two miles every day.
He says the honour of carrying the iconic Olympic flame would be the cherry on the cake after a lifetime of keep fit and raising tens of thousands for charity.
At his home, Vause Farm, Shevington, Derek said: “What a proud moment it would be if I was chosen. I ran in the 1948 British Games, then for Finchley Harriers in London.
“I suppose I became a bit obsessed with running. In the Airforce, they soon discovered my abilities and later I took up fell running.”
He ran the whole length of Hadrian’s Wall, and as a member of Wigan Rambling and Climbing Club, took part in five Lankland trials.
Derek said: “The Olympic games torch committee is looking for young people who have done something good within the community. Well some older people have done more thanks to living longer. I regard myself as 80 years young and as a Freemason I’ve helped raised tens of thousands for charity.
“Keeping fit has always been part of my life. It’s true I was devastated when I was diagnosed with cancer. But I’ve fought it with all my strength and feel absolutely fine now.”
If elected to carry the flame, Derek is prepared to go to any of the Greater Manchester locations. He’s just sorry the flame won’t be carried through Wigan.
Derek’s son Mark, said: “My dad is amazing. We are all backing him and it would be a glorious moment if he was chosen.
“We were all shocked when he was diagnosed with cancer but he has fought it with every breath in his body and he’s fine now. Well he must be to run two miles every morning, whatever the season.”
His wife Liz commented: “He’s not a man ever to give up. Now our greyhound Prince is old, she can’t keep up with Derek on his morning runs. He has to stop to let her catch up.”
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