Olympic torchbearer says a huge ‘thank you’ to Saffron Walden after raising �15,000 in 2012

SAFFRON Walden’s generosity has helped the town’s Olympic torchbearer to raise an astonishing �15,000 for charity during a “phenomenal year”.

Clare Thompson described the support of her bid to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre in Colchester as “overwhelming”. The total was the highest individual donor to the centre in 2012.

Not only did Clare get to carry the Olympic Flame through the town on July 7, she also ran in the Virgin London Marathon, took part in a range of other tough fundraising challenges and, to cap the year off, celebrated her 50th birthday in December.

And she asked to thank her supporters through the Reporter. “There are just too many people to mention but the town has been fantastic – it has given me my best 50th birthday present,” said Clare, right, who also raised �650 for Mercy Corps and Mary’s Meals by completing a quadrathon in Scotland in August with Dr Bjorn Alsos, of Gold Street Surgery, and was also part of a cyclethon team at Wilburs Gym which raised �1,060 for St Clare Hospice.

“Saffron Walden is the nearest thing to Camberwick Green, which is my favourite children’s TV programme, and has just been wonderful for me. I have been so lucky. If it were not for the town, I would not have been able to achieve this.”

Donations have flooded in for her efforts, which started with a 46-mile run to London, supported by friends from her running group, Yac Yak, and the TRI club, the day before the marathon. She then completed the 26.2-mile course in a specially-adapted Waitrose shopping trolley.

Then came her involvement in the 8,000-mile journey of the Olympic Flame – an occasion watched by more than 30,000 people in Saffron Walden – and since then she has visited schools and a host of other organisations with her torch.

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And it’s a cause very close to Clare’s heart. Her sister, Juliet, was diagnosed with MS, a disease of the central nervous system, three years ago and she and her family have received care and support from the resource centre.

“I spent Christmas with her and it is at times like that where you realise just how important they are,” said Clare.

“Juliet has an aggressive form of MS but has seen the benefits [of care from the centre]. It is such a small charity but it makes such a huge difference.”

Clare will continue to raise money for the centre and is planning a six day run/gallop from Cumbria to North Yorkshire with two friends from Wilburs Gym later this year to raise money for both MSRC and Saffron Walden Riding Club for the Disabled.