Local business man, Kevin Byrne holds the Olympic Torch.

By Alexandra Spiceley. 

The damp weather didn’t seem to dampen spirits as 100’s of members of the public surrounded the Olympic route to celebrate the London Olympics starting in just a few days.

Excited crowds cheered local business man Kevin Byrne as he carried the Olympic torch through Woodgate near Chichester today.

Leading local businessman Kevin Byrne 48, of Middleton on Sea was selected by the London organising committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay. Kevin managing director of Selsey based Checkatrade.com has been honoured because of his on-going charity work and inspirational business leadership.

Last year Kevin ran 100 miles over 10 days to raise money for a child with cerebral palsy who needed surgery.  He also works with the Lighthouse Foundation to support orphanages in Nepal, which shelter children falling victim to the sex trade and other forms of abuse.

In 1998 Kevin started Checkatrade.com which recommends vets and monitors trades and services, helping people to avoid cowboy builders and rogue traders.  It has since become one of the region’s most successful firms, with a turnover in excess of £5.5m, 7200 trade members and 150 new members joining each month.

“Being chosen to carry the Olympic Flame is a huge honour,” said a delighted Kevin.  “I’d like to thank my colleagues and customers at Checkatrade.com who have helped make it such a big success.” Kevin Byrne.

After talking to members of Kevin’s family it was clear to see what an impact he has had on the local community as well as family life.  Mr Byrnes Daughters Rachel, 19 and Anna, 22 said:

“He is a really inspiring figure in my life. He is always looking to help others it’s something that he has instilled within the family, to always think of others. For example when our area was flooded due to the heavy rain fall a few weeks ago, we all set to streets with our family canoe so we could help distressed or stranded member of the public. I’m really proud of him today; it’s an honour for our entire family.”  Rachel Byrne, 19.

“That was absolutely amazing I was so excited leading up to the event and then when it came down to the moment everyone was cheering and were really going for it, it was really good. As well as his family he also encourages members of his team at Checkatrade.com to raise money for good causes.  He has encouraged Checkatrade employees to spend 5 of their working days a year towards charitable causes.  So he is really encouraging fundraising in the work environment.  This year Checkatrade.com have already completed a  10 kilometre sponsored run, countless cake sales, zumbathons, a sponsored weight loss and fancy dress days to raise money for charity.” Anna Byrne, 22.

Lisa Byrne Kevin’s wife was speechless, she said “I feel so proud of my husband he is constantly thinking of new ways to raise money for charity and people in need. I am so proud!” Lisa Byrne.

The Flame arrived in the country on May 18, having being lit in Greece and represents peace, unity and friendship.  In total 8,000 torchbearers chosen for their inspirational personal stories, will carry the Flame through more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages on a 70 day journey.

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