Olympic Flame
Relay arrives in Warwick

By IH 05/07 Updated: 05/07 09:43

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Buy photos » Andrew Clough on the second leg in Warwick. 27.012.012.leam.jm20

THERE was a real party atmosphere as young and old alike turned out to catch a glimpse of the Olympic Flame, and share in a little piece of sporting history.

The tradition of the flame dates back some 2,700 to the ancient games in Greece, where a flame burned continually on the altar of the goddess Hera.

Things have changed somewhat. The modern day flame is a accompanied on its travels by garish sponsors vehicles, promoting everything from fizzy drinks to bank accounts, and more policeman than have been seen on the district's streets for many a moon.

There were also an army of peddlers selling flags, from Union Jacks to others proclaiming 'I saw the Olympic Flame'; plastic gold medals; air horns - all in the worst possible taste.

But for all the razzmatazz, the flame itself and the stories of the inspirational people chosen to carry it, maintained a detached dignity, and as they passed the torchbearers were politely applauded - in the best British tradition.

By the time the torch arrives at the Olympic stadium for the start of the Games, on July 27, some 8,000 runners will have covered 8,000 miles up and down the country during the 70 days of the relay.

The Olympic Torch Relay arrived in Warwick just after 3.30pm. It then made its way through the town in the hands of the chosen torchbearers.

Fishers Court to Noble Close - Charlotte Moore, 13, has battled cancer from just 12 weeks old to become the current UK number one wheelchair racer and eighth in the world in under 18s wheelchair tennis, while also raising money for the Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children.

Noble Close to Castle entrance - Andrew Clough, 25, has been a volunteer kayaking coach since the age of 13, president and coach for two years at Warwick University canoe polo club and has also captained the men's team for two years.

Castle car park to Peacock Garden gate - Chloe Pahkne, 12, a young fencing star from Coventry hoping to compete in the Olympics one day.

Peacock Garden gate to within Castle grounds - Georgina Harlan, 34, from Bath, won an Olympic bronze medal in the Modern Pentathlon in Athens in 2004, and is also helping with the London 2012 sporting preparations.

Castle Grounds to Castle car park - Graham Fulford, a Warwick resident and major fund-raiser for prostate cancer awareness, said it has been an "amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity" to carry the torch.

Castle car park to Stratford Road exit from castle - Christopher Johnson, 70, from Southam is co-founder of Leamington Nightshelter, set up in 2009 to use a borrowed church hall two nights a week to provide food, shelter, a bed and support for rough sleepers.

Caslte Exit to Castle Lane - Sheila Carey, 65 from Bedworth competed at two Olympics, finishing fourth in the 800m at Mexico 1968 and fifth in the 1,500m in Munich in 1972, as well as being the fastest member of two world record breaking Great Britain 4 x 800m relay teams in 1970. Since retiring she has been very proactive within disability sport.

Castle Lane to Castle Hill - Sam Starvis, 30, from Warwick, has volunteered as a hockey coach, captain and match secretary for the past three years for Warwick Hockey Club and is also a sport and exercise science lecturer at Warwickshire College, getting many students involved in sports and volunteering.

Castle Hill to St Nicholas Park - Matthew McPolin, 12, is a Coventry school pupil awarded the Year Heads Outstanding Achievement Award after overcoming personal difficulties and social challenges to take on a mentoring role himself with other pupils.

St Nicholas park to Warwick School - Chiara Chipriani.

Warwick School to Myton Gardens - Nicholas Rigby.

Myton Gardens to Myton Crescent - Carina Haley, 48, of Dunchurch, is active in the community, helping design and build a school wildlife garden, campaigning for tennis courts in her village and implementing local 'health walks' for residents

Myton Crescent to Brittain Lane - Luke Hilson, 29, lives in Leamington and founded and coaches The Leamington Lemmings Ultimate Frisbee Club, which is now one of the largest established clubs in the UK with men's, women's and mixed teams, some players from which now represent Great Britain. Luke said: "Running the 300m stretch was fantastic, it was soon over, but the feeling of joy running with the flame with your friends, family and thousands of other well wishers will be with me forever."

(Pictures by Jon Mullis, unless stated)

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Buy photos» Start of the convoy. 27.012.012.leam.jm14

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Buy photos» Chris Hillson heads along Myton Road. (s)

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Buy photos» Georgina Harland with the torch and the stunning Warwick Castle scenery in the background. Picture submitted.

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