David Hemery to light Marlborough’s Jubilee beacon

Written by Tony Millett on .

David HemeryDavid HemeryDavid Hemery has agreed to light the town’s Jubilee beacon at Barbury Racecourse on Monday, June 4.  The former Olympic athlete will be a local link to Britain’s two great 2012 occasions – the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.

There had been some disappointment that David Hemery – one of the area’s most celebrated citizens – was not going to carry the torch on the relay through Marlborough’s streets.  Now visitors to the evening event at Barbury Racecourse will be able to join him as he lights Marlborough’s very own Jubilee beacon.

David Hemery has lived at Fyfield just outside Marlborough for many years.  He is best known for his world record breaking run to win the 1968 Olympic 400 metres hurdles in Mexico City.  His margin of victory was the largest since 1924.

His gold medal helped him to win the 1968 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. The following year he won silver at the European Championships and in 1972 he won a silver and a bronze at the Munich Olympics.  He has also won sporting Superstar competitions three times.



He is currently Vice Chairman of the British Olympic Association.  Most of his time is now spent working for the charity he set up – 21st Century Legacy to help deliver the London Legacy promises which were one of the reasons London won the Games.

He created and co-authored the “Be the Best you can Be!” programme to enable young people to discover their own potential and achieve their ambitions.

Last year Hemery won the European Olympic Committee’s 2011 Laurel Award which is given to a person who has achieved remarkable sporting merit and performed outstanding services for sport within their own country. Receiving the award he said: “I have enjoyed every aspect of my involvement in sport including competing, coaching, writing, educating and now developing young people.”

Marlborough’s beacon event will include a hog roast, music, a bar, a fish-and-chips-van with the beacon being lit – hopefully under clear skies and a full moon – at 10.00pm. And you can camp there too.  It is being organised by the Marlborough Brandt Group.

Tickets are on sale at the White Horse Bookshop. For further information and details of how you can book a seat on a bus from the High Street to the event and back again see our earlier report.


You can see – just about – video of David Hemery’s record breaking 1968 run here.