MATTHEW Haynes - best know to Horsham fans as Howie the Hornet - can already boast about being an Olympic champion, and now he could be in line for more Games glory after being nominated to carry the London 2012 olympic Torch.
Members of the public are being encouraged to nominate the person they believe most deserves to carry the Olympic Flame as it tours the UK and Matthew, who works for Surrey Police, has been one of the first to be picked out.If the Hornets popular mascot was to make it under the bright London 2012 lights, then he wouldn’t be out of place among the Olympians after he stormed to victory at June’s mascot Olympics.
But with the chance to star in an Olympics that doesn’t involve donning a giant bee costume getting that little bit closer, former Forest School pupil Mr Haynes admitted he would be keeping everything crossed.
“To be put forward for such a special occasion is fantastic and I wasn’t expecting anything like that at all,” said Mr Haynes, who was nominated by his dad David.
“I am really into my sports and I suppose you have to be to get dressed up as Howie, although it is a lot of fun entertaining those who turn up on matchdays and doing events that raise money for charity.
“I have been doing it for five-and-a-half years now and was lucky enough to win the Mascot Olympics last month and I have a whopping great trophy to show for it.
“I think I was just blessed with a costume that allowed me to move my legs and I have done the Grand National before back in 2009 and finished third there.
“So I am used to doing a bit of running so if I was to do it with the Olympic Torch it would be amazing and at least I wouldn’t have to wear my costume for once.”
With Horsham FC’s average attendance flittering around the 350 mark, Mr Haynes could be set to strut his stuff in front of a much wider audience at London 2012.
But Mr Haynes, who works as a senior officer at the Horsham data bureau, insists he isn’t about to let nerves get the better of him, recalling a fine FA Cup run as he bids to prove his worth.
“If I was to do the proper Olympics though that would be a massive event for me and I would be put in front of a much bigger crowd than I am used to.
“But we did have a pretty good FA Cup run in 2008 and had Swansea at our ground and had about 3,000 people down there so hopefully I won’t drop the torch or anything.”
To nominate yourself or someone else to be a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer with Lloyds TSB, visit www.lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame
Nominations close on 12 September. Terms and Conditions apply.