The Olympic flame is making its way to the UK on board a flight from Greece for the start of the 2012 torch relay.
The Olympic Flame will arrive at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall on board a chartered British Airways A319 aircraft, specially named The Firefly, at approximately 19.25 BST.
HRH The Princess Royal, LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and David Beckham are accompanying the flame.
A welcoming party, led by the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, will greet the delegation as they disembark the aircraft, before a ceremonial cauldron is lit on the airfield to celebrate the Flame arriving into the UK.
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: ‘The arrival of the Olympic Flame on home soil is a magical moment for any host country.
“It will connect millions of people around the UK to the Games in a unique way and allows us to celebrate the best of the UK and its people.
“We thank the Ministry of Defence, British Airways and the Hellenic Olympic Committee for helping us to deliver the Flame safely for the start in Land’s End tomorrow.’
The Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP said: ‘Today, the Olympic flame begins its journey across the nation. 8,000 people will pass it from hand-to-hand, a human chain that reaches the length and breadth of Britain.
‘It will visit a thousand towns, and be seen by millions; with every step, the excitement will build. And ten weeks from now, the world will watch as the flame arrives at the new Olympic Stadium, bringing with it the hopes of a nation.
‘This Games is for everyone. Between now and the Opening Ceremony, we have a chance to showcase our sporting heritage, our people and our culture, the things that made us such a great choice for the 2012 Olympic Games.’
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: ‘This is a fantastic moment for the London Games. With every day of the torch relay the excitement will build around the country as we look forward to this fantastic festival of sport and culture. It also signals the beginning of delivering the wonderful post Games legacy we have promised Londoners that continues to build on the jobs and economic growth that are already benefiting every corner of the capital.’
On Saturday morning, 19 May, a Royal Navy Search and Rescue Squadron will deliver the Flame to Land’s End where the Olympic Torch Relay will start.
The 771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Helicopter will arrive at 07.00 and Lieutenant Commander Richard Full will carry a lantern to the world-famous signpost at Land’s End where the first Torch will be lit supported by a crowd of local public and dignitaries.
Three-times Olympic Gold medallist and Ben Ainslie CBE will have the honour of being the very first Torchbearer for the Relay.
On leaving Land’s End, the Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine as the Olympic Flame comes to a place near them.
As the Olympic Flame is classified as a symbolic flame it is permitted to be carried on board an aircraft subject to special authorisation from the Civil
The Olympic Flame was lit on 10 May using the sun’s rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional hour-long ceremony organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) among the historic ruins of the home of the ancient Games.
Following the Lighting Ceremony, the HOC then took the Olympic Flame on an 8-day relay around Greece before the official Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony in Athens on 17 May.