Torch leaves town shining - especially for one visitor
THE DAUGHTER of the first man to ever light the Olympic flame visited Kenilworth for the torch relay last weekend.
Regeine Joos is a member of the twinning association of Epstein, Germany, and has become friends with Kenilworth Twinning members Dennis and Marion Adcock.
Mrs Joos came to England with a group of 17 other Germans last weekend and she stayed with Mr and Mrs Adcock.
She said: “I was so looking forward to seeing the torch relay through Kenilworth as my father lit the Olympic flame during the first relay in Berlin in 1936 and it makes me feel very happy to be reminded of this.
“My father Fritz Schilgen was chosen because he ran beautifully and looked beautiful, however Hitler would not shake his hand because he was not a Nazi.”
Mr Fritz, who died in 2005 aged 99, was an electrical engineer and a three-time German 1,500m champion.
More than 3,000 runners participated in this first Olympic torch relay, conceived by Carl Diem.
The torch was ignited from the heat of the sun reflected on a mirror placed in a sacred grove in ancient Olympia and the sportsman was given the honour of carrying the torch on the last stretch of the 3187km long relay which had passed through Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany.
At exactly 4pm, as the planned schedule of the Berlin opening ceremony, he was cheered on by almost 100,000 spectators.
Mrs Joos added: “I am very proud of my father and what he did gives me lots to talk about to English people when I come over here and visit.
“The atmosphere on Sunday was very different from the first relay in 1936, which when I watch on the internet gives me goosepimples, but this week’s relay was also very special in a different way.”
Taking part in Sunday’s torch relay were Chris Bolger, Jonny Heald, Rockie (Gail) Bates, and Stephen Sanday.
Mr Sanday said: “It was a truly incredible experience with the crowds all shouting and cheering.
“The scouts and theatre people were all there along with my wife and it just felt so special.
“I now have many bookings to take my torch to show people in Kenilworth.”
Melanie Barratt, nee Easter, and Phil Highley are among those torchbearers from Kenilworth who will be experiencing their once-in-a-life-time task in places within around one hour from the town.
Mr Highley, who walked in Northampton’s relay on Monday, said: “Although I didn’t get to walk through Kenilworth I still felt the power of the event and could really feel how special it was. My experience was very uplifting.”
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Monday 20 May 2013
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