1948 London Olympics torch bearer remembers his day of pride

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Ernest Lowden, aged 88, will be watching for news of the Olympic flame on its visit to Surrey with special interest this week because, in 1948, Eric was one of the torch bearers in the games that were set to unite the world after the horrors of World War II.

Mr Lowden is now a resident at Care UK’s Whitebourne residential home, in Frimley but in 1948, 24-year old Ernest, a keen distance runner, was living in Slough when he received a letter from the Olympic Organising Committee.

He said: “They wanted me to run in the Olympic torch relay for what was officially called the Games of the XIVth Olympiad. I was very proud to be invited and I accepted with pleasure.

“The day of the relay came. As I waited at my starting place with the torch ready to be kindled in my hand, I was feeling a mixture of emotions; nervous, excited and proud. As the moment arrived, I greeted my fellow runner, kindled the torch and began my run.

“I ran the distance with a big smile on my face, knowing the importance of the task I was carrying out. The run seemed to pass in no time at all and before I knew it, I was handing the flame over to the next runner.”

Ernest still has the torch he used, as well the letter from the committee and photos of himself on the relay.

Whitebourne manager Ros Stevenson said: “Ernest is a great character with a real interest in reading and current affairs. When he joined us four years ago, he told us about his Olympic run. Care UK recently held a short story competition and so our activities team worked with Ernest to capture his memories of the great day, along with the photographs and documents, as his entry to the competition.

“Getting to really know someone, their interests, their likes and dislikes, is at the heart of genuinely good care. We want to ensure residents’ lives are celebrated and that their hobbies and passions are maintained through the activities they enjoy.”

Ernest said: “Though my running days are long gone, I will remember that moment with pride for the rest of my life.”


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