More torch glory for Wearside bearer

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THE Olympic torch will be in Mackem hands again on Monday.

Stephen Brand, 56, will be running with the famous flame in Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire.

Originally from Hylton Castle, project manager Stephen now lives in nearby Aylesbury.

But there will be a touch of Wearside added to his adopted county as his proud family head south to support him on the big day.

Nominated by a friend for his extensive charity work, Stephen said the reality of the task has only just dawned on him.

He said: “It hasn’t really seemed real but it started to sink in on Monday when I got my tracksuit.”

Charities to have benefited from Stephen’s charity work include the Cystic Fybrosis Trust, Cancer Research UK and Save The Children.

In 2001, he raised money by cycling all the way from Aylesbury to Sunderland.

When the torch relay came to Sunderland last month, Stephen was in the city visiting family and watched it pass along Chester Road.

He said: “I was choked watching it in Sunderland so I don’t know what I’ll be like carrying it myself.”