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Community hero Jack Denness will not be Olympic torchbearer

Jack Denness in Death Valley
Jack Denness in Death Valley

Marathon man Jack Denness has run some of the world's most gruelling races that would challenge even the best athletes.

The Rochester pensioner is a pillar of the community, having raised more than £100,000 for charity, and was crowned winner of the last Pride in Medway awards.

But that was not enough to persuade Olympic bosses the 76-year-old should become a torchbearer when the flame passes through the Towns next year.

Mr Denness, of Canon Close, had hoped to have been one of the those to become part of sporting history when the torch goes through Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester on Friday, July 20.

Potential torchbearers were told via email on Friday if they had been successful - and for Mr Denness (pictured above) it was bad news.

"I'm really disappointed, it would have capped off my year," he said. "But I'm sure whoever they pick will be worthy - good luck to them."

One applicant who has been successful is Gillingham accountant Phil Reynolds (pictured right).

Phil Reynolds will be an Olympic torchbearer
Phil Reynolds will be an Olympic torchbearer

The 29-year-old, who works at Chatham Maritime-based Reeves and Co, was offered a place by sponsors Lloyds TSB in October after sending a jokey 150-word message promising to "represent Britain's gingers".

This summer, Mr Reynolds raised more than £1,000 for children's hospice Demelza by leaping from a plane with colleagues.

Mr Denness has raised more than £100,000 for charity after running ultramarathons across the world.

He has run the 135-mile Death Valley run in California at least a dozen times, becoming the oldest competitor to complete the ultimate test of endurance, and the 155-mile Sahara Race.

The Towns' moment of Olympic glory will come a week before the opening ceremony on Friday, July 27.

People will able to line the route and cheer as the torch makes it way through Medway after an overnight stop in Maidstone. From here it will go through Higham and on to Gravesend.

Pride in Medway winner Jack Denness with his wife Mags.
Pride in Medway winner Jack Denness with his wife Mags.

The 70-day Olympic Torch Relay will start at Land's End on the morning of May 19, 2012.

The Olympic flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK.

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