Olympic torch bearer sells torch for £153,000 on eBay
AN Olympic torchbearer has sold her piece of history for more than £150,000.
Sarah Milner Simonds sold the torch on the internet before she had even carried it on her leg of the 8,000-mile relay event, which arrives in Bristol today.
But Ms Milner Simonds says she will not keep the money for herself – instead she will use it to secure the future of a community gardening project which would otherwise struggle for funding.
Each of the 8,000 torchbearers is given the opportunity to buy the cast aluminium alloy torch which they use for their leg of the relay. The gas-powered torches cost £495 to make and torchbearers can buy theirs for £215 each, with the rest of the cost met by sponsors.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Ms Milner Simonds, from Burnham- on-Sea, listed the torch she carried through Dunster yesterday afternoon on internet auction site eBay on Sunday, along with her torchbearer's tracksuit.
It received 163 bids and the winning bid was for £153,100 – but seven bids for even higher amounts were made and then withdrawn. Last night Ms Milner Simonds was still uncertain as to whether the massive winning bid will turn out to be genuine, although it represents a legally binding contract.
She was nominated for her work as a gardener at the People's Plot – a community allotment in London, where people can grow their own fruit and veg, cook and eat the food they grow together.
Explaining her decision to sell, she told community news website Burnham-on-Sea.com: "I am thoroughly proud to be representing Burnham in the torch relay, but rather than look at the torch for years to come on my mantelpiece I have decided to auction it and put it to long-term benefit for the community."
She said that obtaining funding for community groups during the recession was "incredibly difficult" and the money brought in by selling the torch was a "super opportunity".
She described the final total as "completely overwhelming" and said she was dismayed to be receiving "hateful messages" on eBay from people opposed to the sale.
She said: "This money will give us an opportunity to run training sessions and help people across the country. It will help hugely in difficult economic times."
There have been more than 30 torch auctions on eBay so far, with at least three making more than £100,000.
Recently torches from previous games, including London 1948 and Berlin 1936, have sold for up to £6,750.
A spokesman for London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said: "It is up to torchbearers what they do with their torches, and we hope the torches on eBay go to a good home."
Also involved in last night's torch relay was Somerset cricket captain and Post columnist Marcus Trescothick.