THE BURNING issue of an argument over the ownership of an Olympic torch carried on a west Cornwall leg of the 2012 Games relay has been extinguished in court.
Duncan Graham, a former chairman of the Five Islands School Football Club, carried the torch in Penzance – the 16th of 8,000 legs of the relay leading up to the Games' opening.
On Monday, he appeared at county court in Truro as the defendant in a small claims case brought against him by the club, which was represented by its secretary Helen Glenn.
After a discussion with a judge in chambers, they reached a compromise, agreeing that the torch would be given to the Five Islands School permanently.
After the hearing, Mr Graham, who was one of two islanders chosen as bearers, said he had thought the torch, which was paid for by the football club, had been given to him as a thank you for his work in the community.
He said the case had used unnecessary time and money and had caused bitterness.
He said: "The football club claimed it actually belonged to them. That is why the case was brought ... this whole thing should never have happened in the first place. I was going to display the torch anyway."
Speaking outside court, Mrs Glenn said the issue had come to light at the annual meeting of the club in September 2012.
She said: "Mr Graham claimed that the torch was his own personal property, which was never the case. He referred to it as a family heirloom."
But she said she was glad a positive agreement had been reached. "The club was sure that this torch did not belong to any individual person and that has been the outcome."
Mrs Glenn, who spoke to school head teacher Linda Todd, said she was delighted to accept the donation.
Mrs Glenn said: "It was always intended to be purchased for the benefit of the children and the community.
"I think we will just draw a line under the issue now. There is no need for any animosity."
District Judge Lee Thomas said: "On the parties each agreeing forthwith to donate the torch and their respective interests in it to the Five Islands School … the claim is stayed."
Mr Graham was ordered to deliver the torch to the school by 4pm on Tuesday and to pay £360 to the football club towards court costs.
District Judge Thomas said some of the evidence in the case had been of a "fairly unattractive nature" and that the agreement was a true compromise.