Notts' torch-bearer Bill 'thrilled to bits' after life in sport
On the day the Olympic flame arrives in Notts, we profile some of those who have been chosen to carry it through the county. Emily Winsor reports
AT 84, Bill Ferguson can remember the last time the Olympic games came to London in 1948.
The atmosphere was very different to the build-up to today's games, according to Bill, who was then 20 years old and running regularly in competitions for the 19th Nottingham Boys' Brigade.
Bill, of Woodthorpe, who has been selected as a torch-bearer for this year's Olympics, said: "In 1948 it was just after the Second World War and the games were taking place in a climate of rationing and austerity.
"It was a completely different world in terms of sport compared to today.
"But I think sports does a lot for the country still.
"The torch relay has been very well-designed so that the ideals of the Olympics can touch as many communities as possible."
Bill will carry the flame along Gregory Boulevard tomorrow morning as it leaves Nottingham Castle and heads to Derby.
He added: "As a young man I was a very keen runner – I ran almost every day.
"Since my retirement I have played golf and bowls and a bit of squash and have always tried to stay active.
"I won't be running with the torch tomorrow because I stopped running when I retired. I'll be walking.
"But I feel truly honoured to have been picked to carry the flame, really thrilled to bits."
Bill, who was President of Notts Athletic Club from 1977 to 1990, was nominated to carry the flame because of his sporting achievements and dedication to athletics. In 1951 Bill was called up to the GB squad for the 100 yards and 220 yards hurdles.
He was the Midland County Champion in the 100 yards and 220 yards hurdles from 1953 to 1955 and from 1965 to 1978 he was team manager for the GB and England teams at three Commonwealth Games – 1966 in Kingston, 1974 in Christchurch and 1978 in Edmonton.
He added: "I've always been an avid fan of the Olympics – they are something every athlete would like to win, no matter what their specialism is.
"But my interest in the Olympics is not just about Great Britain winning medals. I think it is more about getting people into the semi-finals and finals, which is also a great achievement.
"The games have really caught the imagination of the country and, if the turnout the Queen got when she came to Nottingham is anything to go by, I expect the flame will draw just as many spectators."