Kent’s Jim Pocknell carried the Olympic flame for golf when he joined the torch relay, running before thousands of people in Deal in his home county – on his birthday.
“It was fantastic, absolutely fantastic,” said Jim, who is chairman of the Kent Golf Partnership. “For me, on my birthday, it was like winning a major in golf or the jackpot on the National Lottery.
“When your torch is lit at the kiss point and you start your run you are the only person in the world at that point carrying the Olympic Flame. What a responsibility.”
The crowds were packing the pavements six or seven deep and, from the moment he arrived at his position, Jim was in demand. “There were crowds of people coming up and asking if they could touch the torch and if they could have a photo. I don’t think I’ve ever had my picture taken so many times! The people of Deal really made it special for us, it was great.”
Jim was nominated by Sport England after his name was put forward by the England Golf Partnership (EGP). The Partnership brings together the amateur governing body, England Golf, and the Professional Golfers’ Association to grow the game with the support of the Golf Foundation and Sport England.
Jim, a member at Royal Blackheath, Bearsted and Gillingham Golf Clubs, has made an extraordinary contribution to golf at all levels for 30 years: within his clubs, with the Kent County Union and, for the last six years, with the Kent Golf Partnership, which works to grow the game in the county.
He said: “A massive thank you to the England Golf Partnership and Sport England for the nomination.”
Now, Jim aims to share the Torch experience with as many people as possible. He’s made a quick start – he’s already visited a community group, posed with school children for photographs, given a live television interview and had lunch with the Mayor of Medway.
He’s also taken the torch to a schools’ mini-Olympics where the Kent Golf Partnership organised Tri-Golf competitions for 150 children. Jim was accompanied by another torchbearer and again they posed for more photographs.