Olympic Torch begins UK tour

Olympic Torch begins UK tour

The Olympic Flame has started its 70-day tour of the UK in the run-up to the London 2012 Games.

Three-times Olympic Gold medallist and Ben Ainslie CBE was the first Torchbearer for the Relay as crowds cheered from the sidelines.

Over 100 people are expected to bear the torch throughout the day.

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.

The Olympic flame arrived in the UK on board a flight from Athens last night.

ADVERTISEMENT

It touched down at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall on board a chartered British Airways A319 aircraft, specially named The Firefly.

HRH The Princess Royal, LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and David Beckham accompanied the flame.

A welcoming party, led by the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, greeted the delegation as they disembarked 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. 

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.’

This morning, a Royal Navy Search and Rescue Squadron delivered the Flame to Land’s End where the Olympic Torch Relay will start.

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.