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Welling pensioner snubbed by Olympic chiefs

PUBLISHED: 15:28 01 June 2012

Bernie Whitcomb with the letter from Locog

Bernie Whitcomb with the letter from Locog

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A 94-year-old Welling man who was an official at the 1948 London Games has been snubbed by Olympic chiefs as he looked to reprise his role at this summer's Olympics.

Ernie Whitcomb, of Okehampton Crescent, offered his services to LOCOG but they wrote back saying they did not need him..

He said: “I just give up really. I could keep hoping but surely they’ve made their arrangements by now.

“It’s disappointing no-one wants me. I’m sure it’s because of my age but I think age is a state of mind. I’ve had prostrate cancer for 11 years and I’m still going strong.”

Mr Whitcomb has been married to his wife Lily, 97, for 72 years and is trying his best to tap into the Olympic spirit as he looks back to his memories of 1948.

Those Games have famously been dubbed The Austerity Olympics because Britain was still in the midst of rationing following the Second World War.

He said: “I remember the day very vividly. It was beautiful weather and I rode over to Windsor with my colleagues. At the end of the day everyone got a little meal, a thanks very much before being told to be on our bikes, literally! It was a great honour

The former bike shop owner also provided equipment for the British cycling team in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics as well as sponsoring famous cyclists Stan Brittain (CORRECT) and Phil Liggett (CORRECT).

Whitcomb Cycles used to have a shop in Bexleyheath but Mr Whitcomb sold it in 1985. He passed the Deptford store onto his 68-year-old son Barrie (CORRECT) when he retired in 1998, but the business closed down in 2009.

Mr Whitcomb said: “Cycling was always a big part of my life.“I still try to keep in touch with people with those of us left from 1948 but my son thinks I’m getting a bit old for it.”

The pensioner left the army in 1947 and moved to Welling the following year, and he has lived there ever since.

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