Olympic top torch bid is blown out
PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 May 2012
AN OLYMPIC torch bearer from Somerset has defended her attempt to sell the golden torch for £153,100 on eBay - even though she now fears the winning bid was a hoax by people who criticised the move.
Sarah Milner Simonds ran from Dunster Steep to Dunster Castle with the flaming symbol on Monday - a day after auctioning the torch online.
The college lecturer said she decided to sell her piece of Olympic history because she intends to invest the money into a community garden project The People’s Plot, which she is involved in.
However, she has been unable to contact the person who logged the enormous winning bid, and faces re-listing the iconic torch in a fresh auction.
Sarah said: “When I heard the first torch had been sold for £3,000 I thought you can do a lot with that money and it was a no-brainer.
“The People’s Plot is why I was nominated and I wanted to sell this to give more back.
“I’m quite a practical person and while the torch is beautiful and I’m really proud to carry it, I’m less interested in a souvenir and more interested in creativity and bringing about change for the future.”
But Sarah, of The Grove in Burnham, may not be able to help out as much as she had initially hoped.
Although the auction closed with a winning bid of £153,100, Sarah has been unable to contact the victor and fears her auction was sabotaged by people who attacked her decision to sell.
She said: “It was overwhelming to think that it might fetch that amount of money but that bidder has not come through.
“It seems it could have been some cynical person trying to hijack the final bid.”
Sarah has had to contact each of the next bidders, and is currently down to a bid of £50,000 and is still waiting for a response.
She said: “We received hundreds of abusive messages and emails and it would be a shame if it was a way to sabotage this effort. It all depends on who actually comes through with the money.
“Those who are sabotaging my opportunity to plough investment back into the community are not embodying any of the Olympic values.
“Isn’t it up to the Olympic torch bearer to do with this what they want and to do their own thing?”
Sarah is now trying to track down a serious bidder and is considering listing the torch again on the site if none of the winning bidders come forward.
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