Wotton fundraiser uses Olympic legacy to raise money

Gazette Series: William Cruickshank of Wotton-under-Edge with his Olympic torch William Cruickshank of Wotton-under-Edge with his Olympic torch

AN Olympic torchbearer who carried the flame in memory of his late father is using his torch to fundraise.

William Cruickshank, 58, of Wotton-under-Edge, carried the flame in Chippenham on Wednesday, May 23.

Mr Cruickshank was nominated as a torchbearer for his dedication to sport. He has coached young people in hockey for 30 years and founded the Wotton Hockey Club, which now boasts two men’s teams, two women’s and a junior side.

Mr Cruickshank, who works at Lloyds TSB and has two children, Claire, 24, and James, 28, said being chosen to carry the flame was an honour, initially terrifying and exciting in equal measure.

He said: "It was like Christmas and the dentist all rolled into one."

The day itself was "phenomenal," as he carried the flame 600 yards through Chippenham.

But it was particularly poignant for Mr Cruickshank, as he remembered his firefighter father, William Crocket, who was one of 19 fire personnel killed in Britain’s worst peacetime fire services disaster, the 1960 Cheapside Street Whisky Bond Fire in Glasgow. Mr Cruickshank said the 8,000 circles on the Olympic torch reminded him of the circle of life.

"When I held the torch and the flame was lit, at that moment all I could think about was my Dad," he said.

"The circle had just come the full way around and there I was, holding the flame and part of my Dad was there."

His personal Olympic legacy is to use his torch to raise money for Winston’s Wish, a childhood bereavement charity which provides support to bereaved children and their families. And he’s hoping to set aside at least £1,000 to start a fund to help pay for kit and training for children who cannot afford the costs of hockey.

"Maybe the fact that he died made me who I am," said Mr Cruickshank. "I hear that a lot, that people who lose a parent early really drive themselves forward to do more and try to make a difference."

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/William-Cruickshank

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