AN inspirational pensioner has spoken of the “fantastic”

experience of carrying the Olympic Torch when it returned to the county.

Moira Starkey, aged 85, from Storridge, near Malvern, completed her leg of the nationwide relay in Wickhamford, near Evesham, shortly after noon on Sunday.

Setting off from Pitchers Hill, near Sandys Avenue, she was supported by about 30 friends and neighbours after being chosen as a torchbearer for fund-raising work in aid of breast cancer charity the Haven.

She said: “It was fantastic. I have never seen so many people and they were all waving and cheering. I enjoyed every minute of it and I am very grateful to have been picked to do it because I am nobody. I can think of a few other people who well merited it who were not picked.

“It was as though the coronation had been through every village. It got everybody out and I don’t think we shall see this sort of thing again in our lifetimes.”

Her part of the route was completed in a wheelchair pushed by fellow Haven fund-raiser Mike Chandler, a Hereford postman who raised more than £22,000 by running with his postie’s trolley from his home to London before completing the London Marathon.

She has raised more than £12,000 for the charity since 2004 when a close friend and neighbour was diagnosed with breast cancer and visited the charity in Hereford.

She was nominated by the centre’s staff as a thank-you for her efforts which have seen her making home-made jam, marmalade and lemon curd to sell to and arranging fund-raising events such as pancake races, coffee mornings, country and western nights, indoor curling competitions and opening her cottage garden to visitors.

To boost her total, she has donated her torch and torchbearer’s uniform to the charity to be auctioned or raffled.

The charity, which also has centres in London and Leeds, works with the NHS to provide free one-to-one support for anyone who is affected by breast cancer.