Torch honour for Des

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THIS Sunday will be a very proud day indeed for Des Hassan and his little granddaughter Holly.

For the Coleraine man will be carrying the Olympic Torch for his employers, BMW, at Stormont Castle in Belfast.

“I was nominated by JKC because of my work with young people over many years in this community especially with the Boys’ Brigade and the Co Londonderry Team in the NI Milk Cup.

“It’s a great honour for me, my family, my colleagues at JKC and BMW and I’m looking forward it. Words can’t really describe it.

“I’ll be running the 300 metres with my little granddaugher Holly, who’s six and the daughter of my son, Paul.”

There are few more worthy recipients than Des to carry the Olympic Torch.

He has dedicated himself to the Boys’ Brigade movement with 41 years of outstanding service.

He joined 1st Tobermore BB as a boy and later served the Brigade as an officer.

Since 1975, when he and his wife Georgie moved to Coleraine, Des has been involved with 2nd Coleraine BB.

Des can count Jimmy Nesbitt, the Coleraine actor, among his young charges and over the years he has been an enthusiastic and dedicated officer for the Battalion.

“As Battalion Recreation Officer I was responsible for organising sport and other activities in the Coleraine District area,” says Des.

A great football man, Des was also secretary of the Co Londonderry set up when the new county system was introduced into the Northern Ireland Milk Cup in 1992.

He was involved for thirteen years with the County teams at both under-14 and under-16 level taking part in the famous youth football tournament.

Des is also a past secretary and president of Coleraine Bowling Club and a member of 1st Coleraine Indoor Bowling Club.

As well as being a father of two - he also has a daughter Nikki - Des has worked for BMW in Coleraine for 21 years and is now a Senior Sales Executive.

He says: “I didn’t know I was nominated to carry the torch but I went to London in February to meet the other members of the BMW Torch Team. There’s 70 of us in the UK but I will be the only person in Northern Ireland to represent BMW who are one of the main sponsors of the London Olympics in the Torch Relay.”

Des is thrilled that his family will be in Belfast on Sunday morning to cheer him on - now that’s what we call the Olympic spirit.