May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Sara Odeen-Isbister , Senior Reporter
Friday, February 10, 2012
A chaplain who works tirelessly to support disadvantaged people in the borough has been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch on behalf of the people of Barking and Dagenham.
John Hamilton will carry the flame for half a mile between Redbridge and Barking on Sunday, July 22, just a few days before it reaches the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
The 47-year-old, who was nominated by Barking MP Margaret Hodge, said he was over the moon to be picked for the coveted role. “Not in my wildest dreams would I have expected this,” he said. “It’s an absolute privilege. I can’t wait.”
Originally from Scotland, John has been the chaplain at the Dawson Christian Centre in Hedgeman’s Road, Dagenham, for the past six years.
As well as offering emotional support, he and his team run a food bank and food club to support those in the borough struggling to cope financially.
John describes himself as a huge sports fan and cannot wait for the Games to kick off. Although the grandfather-of-two has not secured a ticket to an event he hopes to land himself a job as an Olympic on-site chaplain. “I’ve had an interview so fingers crossed,” he said. “I was actually a ‘hard hat chaplain’ which involved being on site one day a week while the village was being constructed and offering any support or guidance to those who wanted it.
“To be a chaplain at the actual Games would be amazing.”
If chosen for the role, John says he would love to see a few of the athletic events.
Mrs Hodge, who visited John last week to offer her congratulations, said: “I have known John for years. He works tirelessly on behalf of residents. He’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m really pleased that he has been chosen to carry the Torch. It is richly deserved. I hope many people line the streets to cheer him on.”