Torch carried by Yorkshire athlete's father to be sold

Jane Charnley A 1948 Olympic torch carried by the father of Yorkshire athletics world champion, Gordon Pirie, is to be sold at auction next month.

Amateur runner Alick Pirie is believed to have run through London with the aluminium torch, one of 1,700 carried from Greece to the capital which hosted the games that year.

Mr Pirie senior was selected as one of Britain's 80 torch-bearers in his role as a member of amateur cross-country club, South London Harriers.

Wiltshireauctioneers Dominic Winter said yesterday it was likely that his 17-year-old son, Leeds-born Gordon, was likely to have run alongside his father at the event.

Gordon later went on to claim a silver medal in the 5,000 metres at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

Known as "Puff-Puff" Pirie becauseofhisexagg-

erated breathing technique, Douglas Alistair Gordon Pirie also set five athletics world records between 1953 and 1956.

The sports star, who emigrated to New Zealand for a period with his international sprinter wife, Shirley Hampton, was known for his outspokenness.

He was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1955 but struck a discordant note on screen by using the occasion to slam the media for damaging British sport.

He died from cancer in Bournemouth in 1991, aged 60, leaving two daughters.

The sale of the 18-inch-long torch from the estate of Alick Pirie at Dominic Winter auction house in Swindon, Wiltshire, on April 7, is expected to fetch up to 3,000.