HUNDREDS of people braved the driving rain in Newbiggin this morning to watch the Olympic torch come through the town.
And torch bearer Gordon Hawkins was delighted to carry the torch along Front Street.
The 72-year-old said: “I am thrilled to be asked to be a torchbearer, but I only trained for 300m and I’m doing a double run,” he said.
“People from all over the world had come to cheer me on today and friends who couldn’t get here have sent their flags, even my daughter has come all the way from Canada, it’s amazing.”
Gordon joined the 7th Newcastle Life Boys at seven-years-old, and in 1957 he became the first boy in Newcastle to be awarded the Queens Badge for over 20 years.
His daughter Nicole Beauregard said: “I’m so proud of him.
“He became Captain of the company in 1965. The company met on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings for drill, badge work, gymnastics and Bible Class.
“Despite living some miles away he has always travelled to meetings. The company is in Byker a very deprived part of Newcastle – at times I am sure he has felt like giving up but still runs the sport, weekend camps and badge work.
“To this day he is still encouraging children and trying to teach them craft, sport and how to be good citizens.”
In recent years he has been instrumental in getting the Westmoor Community Centre built and running succesfully.