CLIC founder Bob thrilled at Olympic relay honour
A VETERAN charity fundraiser from Bristol will become one of the oldest Olympic torch bearers to take part in the triumphant 70-day relay around the UK.
Bob Woodward, left, founded children's leukaemia charity CLIC in 1974 after his son Robert was diagnosed with cancer, giving up a successful career as a house builder to set up the organisation.
The 79-year-old will be given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch for one mile of its 8,000-mile procession around the country, before it is used to light the Olympic flame at this summer's London games.
Although he will be one of the most senior runners taking part in the epic relay through Britain, he will be pipped at the post by the eldest runner – 100-year-old Dinah Gould, who will carry the flame through the London borough of Barnet.
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Mr Woodward, who lives in Frenchay, says he is "absolutely thrilled" to be taking part in the event.
"It's an historic moment, and to be a part of that is just wonderful," he said.
"I certainly won't get another opportunity to run with the Olympic torch in this lifetime, so I'm planning on savouring every moment."
Mr Woodward was invited to carry the torch after being put forward by one of the Olympic Torch Relay official sponsors, Lloyds TSB.
"They chose me after seeing me being presented with a Pride of Britain Award on the television last year. This is an honour I never saw coming, but I was more than happy to say yes," he said.
Mr Woodward will tackle the one- mile run through the streets of Malvern on May 25 – just weeks after having a major operation to replace the joint in one of his knees.
"It's given me a good motivation to get back on my feet as quickly as possible after the operation," he said. "I'm already down to one crutch now, and I'm hoping to be able to do the torch relay crutch-free."
Mr Woodward founded CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood) in 1974 and continued to develop the charity following Robert's death at the age of 11 in 1977.
With Mr Woodward at the helm, the organisation grew into the country's biggest childhood cancer care charity, merging with the Sargent Cancer Fund to become Clic Sargent.
He retired from the charity in 1996, after being diagnosed himself with prostate cancer. He had raised more than £50m for the organisation during the 32 years.
But Mr Woodward's charity work continued into his retirement, notably with his involvement in the Jack and Jill Appeal and the Children's Hospice for Bristol Appeal, and 13 years ago he took on the role of administering the Starfish Trust – a fund set up by Bristol millionaires Charlie and Mary Dobson, aimed at helping disabled youngsters.
He was awarded the overall award at the 2010 Post/First Gold Star awards, and the following year was further honoured with an ITV Pride of Britain Award.