Olympic Torch bearer Chris really has the Midas touch

DABB HAND – Chris Dabbs shows off his Olympic Torch with wife Helen, son George and mum Brenda
DABB HAND – Chris Dabbs shows off his Olympic Torch with wife Helen, son George and mum Brenda

MARK CAVENDISH and Bradley Wiggins may have electrified the ecstatic crowds as they tore through West Byfleet, Pyrford and Ripley but it was the generosity of one local man that truly encapsulated the spirit of the Olympic Games.

Chris Dabbs, 49, who was born and raised in Send Marsh,  was one of the privileged few to take part in the prestigious Olympic torch relay when he carried the famous flame through Market Harborough in Leicestershire last month.

And in a selfless bid to share the glory and prestige with as many fans as possible, Chris brought his precious piece of memorabilia to the road race on Saturday.

The golden torch sparked a photo frenzy, with generations young and old flocking to grab a snap with the iconic torch.

[pullquote]He is always sharing and is always thinking of others.[/pullquote]

Chris said: “I wanted to share my experience with everyone at the race.

“We risked being there all afternoon but I bought it out to share the joy and to see people smile is well worth it.”

Chris, who is in a wheelchair after breaking his back testing motorcycles in 1993, was nominted to carry the flame by his
employers, the Bauer group after 22 years of dedicated service.

Since his accident, he has played, coached and has been chairman of Northamptonshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club for eight years.

He also sails with Northampton Sailability, and is a huge fan of scuba diving and races karts.

In his latest project, he has got back into the saddle of a motorbike thanks to The Bike Experience.

His excellent attitude and the way he has coped with his accident are just two of the reasons why wife Helen believes he was nominated by his employers.

She said: “Chris has been travelling to schools, allowing children to get a real good look at the ­Olympic torch.

“He is always sharing and is always thinking of others. He’s also encouraging as many people as possible to back Rachel Morris in the Paralympic Games.”

Rachel is a close friend of Chris and is in a race to be fit to defend her title after securing hand-cycling gold in Beijing four years ago.

She was injured following a collision with a car during a time trial in Hampshire in July.

Her condition, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, involves a malfunction of the nervous system and sensory abnormalities, meaning she takes longer to recover from injury.

The accident has put her Paralympic hopes in jeopardy, but Chris was determined to boost her spirits and drum up support for the 33 year old.

Raving about her previous success, Chris remained confident Rachel would make a full recovery.

He said: “She is really one to watch, she’s a great girl and a top athlete. Everyone needs to get behind her and the rest of Team GB.”

And speaking on the historic moment the Olympic Games passed within a mile of his childhood home, Chris failed to disguise his pride.

He added: “It’s fantastic to see this part of the world used in an Olympic cycle course.

“The opening ceremony was truly spectacular and eccentrically British as well.

“I loved the music choice all the way through, and it’s fantastic that we all get to share it.”

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About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon