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As the Olympic torch heads towards Cumbria several members of the NHS Cumbria team are ready to take up the relay. Prescribing Support Pharmacist at Stafford House, Barrow-in-Furness, Paul Elwood will be running though Ambleside with the Olympic flame after being nominated by parents of children who attend Ulverston Swimming Club where he is head coach and has been involved for more than six years.
In Cockermouth, Seascale Health Centre GP, Dr Tim Sowton says he will be carrying the torch on behalf of the local community.
Paul Elwood, 46 hopes his Olympic torch will be joined by an Olympic gold medal in four years time when his son, Joe, 18 is hoping to be a member of Team GB’s swimmers.
As well as his full time career with the NHS, Paul, 46 spends four morning as a week from 7am until 8.30am and six evenings until 9.45pm every week coaching young swimmers.
Paul said: “I was so proud when I got the initial email from the Olympic committee to say I had been nominated last year. Apparently several of the parents had put my name forward.
“After security checks I was told just before Christmas that I had been chosen, but I couldn’t tell anyone until the officially announcement in March.”
Paul was a football coach in his spare time, however when his son became involved in swimming he changes to coaching swimmers.
Paul said: “Joe is now 18 and he’s a Loughborough University where he’s training with the Team GB squad. Hopefully he will be in the team next time in Rio.”
The North West’s young hopefuls for Rio are also training with Paul as he coaches at the north West Beacon Squad.
Paul said: “Every Thursday I go to Manchester to coach the North West Beacon Squad who are the top swimmers in the North West. Working with the other coaches there I have been able to bring back some techniques to Ulverston Swimming Club.”
Ulverston Swimming Club is having success in their competition, and they will be able to cheer on their coach as he joins the other three runners who will carry the torch through Ambleside.
Paul added: “I’ve already paid for my torch which I will be carrying. It’s a piece of history.”
Tim Sowton, 51 was nominated by his wife, who saw the publicity to put someone forward on the first anniversary of the West Cumbrian shootings.
Tim said: “She thought it was a positive thing to do on that day. Whith all the challenging events the people of West Cumbria had faced, this was a way to look forward, acknowledge the facct that as a community we were able to move forward.”
A keen marathon runner in the past, Tim now enjoys fell running and cycling.
He said:” I feel that I am running for my community in Cockermouth and Seascale.
“Patients have been very positive about the event and many are coming along to cheer me as I go by.
“I really believe this event is bringing communities together. It feels good and positive for West Cumbria.”
And patients at the surgery will have the opportunity to see the Olympic Torch after the event, as Tim has already bought his and has promised to take it into work so everyone will have the chance to see this piece of history.
Tim added: “I’ve bought it and I certainly will not be selling it!”
The Olympic torch will be in Cumbria from June 20-22.