Olympic flame of hope burns bright

Labour MP John Healy, with  front Dominic Hurley, & right  Paul Bennington who have reached the Olympic Torchbearer 's shortlist
Labour MP John Healy, with front Dominic Hurley, & right Paul Bennington who have reached the Olympic Torchbearer 's shortlist
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A BRAVE man who fought back from a severe brain injury and a triathlete who has worked tirelessly to promote athletics are among South Yorkshire nominees to be Olympic torchbearers next year.

Dominic Hurley, aged 38, of Dalton, Rotherham, sustained a severe brain injury 16 years ago and spent three months in a coma.

The paralympic hopeful was thrown off a moped and injured when a truck hit him from behind in Cyprus.

Doctors said he would never walk again but he proved them wrong and in the last three years has raised £53,000 for charity through his love of cycling. He has won several awards for his inspirational efforts.

And Paul Bennington, 39, of Brampton Bierlow, Rotherham, is a triathlete who has helped set up and maintain facilities at Manvers lake and was central to the recent launches of the Dearne Valley Triathlon and South Yorkshire half marathon.

He also works with young people to warn them of the dangers of open water swimming.

Both men were nominated by Wentworth and Dearne Labour MP John Healey, who said: “The selection panels are looking for inspirational stories of personal achievement and contribution to the local community.

“I think Dom and Paul are perfect examples of that and thoroughly deserve the honour of carrying the OIympic flame when it comes to Yorkshire.”

Other people nominated in South Yorkshire include war hero Ben Parkinson, of Bessacarr, Doncaster, who lost both legs and suffered head injuries in a roadside Taliban bomb explosion in Afghanistan in 2006.

And John Burkhill – Sheffield’s popular ‘Mad Man with a Pram’ – has also been nominated to carry the torch.

The 72-year-old has become a well-known sight around Sheffield after devoting his life to raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Care – donning a green wig and pushing a pram around the city in countless sponsored events.

The announcement of who has been chosen to carry the torch – which begins its journey at Land’s End on May 19, 2012 and reaches Sheffield on Monday, June 25 – will be made in December.