An Ayr-born grandfather is set to repeat history when he carries the Olympic Torch through the South Ayrshire town of Girvan on Friday 8 June.
Steve Grant, 61, a retired Electrical Engineering lecturer at Kilmarnock College, was nominated to carry the Olympic Torch by his youngest son Stuart because of his many years of service to the Boys’ Brigade and gymnastics in South Ayrshire. Steve, who lives in Mossblown, will carry the Torch in Girvan on the morning of 8 June – which will be ten years to the exact day since his wife Linda carried the Queen’s Jubilee Baton in the 2002 Commonwealth Games relay around the UK.
“Linda was selected to run through Girvan with the Commonwealth Baton on 8 June 2002 – it is such a strange coincidence that I have been selected to run with the Olympic Torch through the same town on the same day ten years later,” says Steve.
The couple are both highly respected for their years of service to the Boys’ Brigade and for running and coaching gymnastics within South Ayrshire. Steve was a member of the Boys’ Brigade from primary school right up to the age of 18. He later re-joined as an Officer and Captain in companies in Ayr, Annbank, Wallacetown and Troon, and has been an Officer with 1st Troon Boys’ Brigade for the past 10 years.
It was a fellow Boys’ Brigade Captain who introduced him to the world of gymnastics in the early 1980s. His interest inspired him to take his coaching qualifications, a move that has led to him now having coached gymnastics for around 30 years. As a former President and Head Coach of Ayr Gymnastics Club Steve, who is still a club coach, has also run further education gymnastic classes for South Ayrshire Council in Mossblown and Whitletts.
Gymnastics has become ingrained in the whole family. The couple’s eldest and youngest sons Scott and Stuart – both policemen within South Ayrshire – are now assistant coaches, and some of Steve and Linda’s grandchildren also enjoy the sport.
Steve, a dad of four and grandfather to six children aged from two months up to 18, says he will be carrying the Olympic Torch for his whole family when it is passed to him in Girvan.
“We are a very close family so I will be carrying the Torch for each of them,” he says. “My family’s reaction to me being selected is quite overwhelming – they are so excited about it.”