7 Jul 2012
On 6 July 2012 13 towns and villages across Essex welcomed the Olympic Flame on its journey from Ipswich to its overnight stay at Hylands House in Chelmsford.
Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for Education. Life Long Learning and the 2012 Games commented: “We have been a part of history today as we welcomed the torch into our county! The Olympic Flame has touched 13 communities and literally thousands of people on its 117 mile journey. I was delighted to see so many people out in the pouring rain cheering on the Flame, proving to the world the Olympic spirit is alive and well here in Essex! I’m looking forward to the spectacular celebratory event at Hylands Park this evening and getting back on the road tomorrow as the Flame makes its way through more communities in Essex on its way to Cambridge.”
The Flame, which started its journey in Colchester just before 7.30 this morning, made its way through the town to hundreds of cheering residents and along the high street carried by 18 years old George Walklett from Manningtree, who was nominated for his voluntary work with the RSPCA and who would like to become a policeman or join the Navy once he leaves college.
From there the Flame travelled to Hatfield Peveral before journeying to Heybridge and Maldon on its way to the lunchtime stop over in Southend on Sea.
A choir of 2000 children were there to welcome the Flame with a song composed specifically for the occasion. Olympic Swimmer Mark Foster was among the Torchbearers who ran the Southend leg, waving to the crowds gathered along the high street. He was later followed by 16 year old Sophie Riches of Rayleigh, who ran the Flame along the sea front. Sophie is an aspiring athlete and who won Gold at the 2011 European Youth Olympic Festival in the 1500m.
On leaving Southend the Flame travelled up to Rayleigh to crowds of cheering residents before travelling to the Olympic Mountain Bike venue in Hadleigh.
Although closed to the public, the Flame was welcomed into the venue by 400 local school children who had been invited by Essex County Council to join in the celebrations. Here, local man Dan Jarvis picked up the torch and climbed aboard his Mountain Bike to cycle the Flame around the start finish loop of the Olympic track. Dan, who is the Legacy Champion for the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike venue, has for the past five years actively promoted the venue across the county to elite cyclists as well as current and new participants, in order to create a lasting legacy for Essex from the Olympic event.
The Flame then journeyed over to Basildon where 14 year old George Jeffery and 19 year old Holly Worthington exchanged flames. Essex boy George, hopes to inspire and encourage other young people to give back to the local community whether it’s fundraising or giving up their time. Holly, from Watford, raised £2300 cycling the UK last summer from John O`Groats to Lands` End. Holly wants to be as involved as she can in charity and volunteer work in the future.
Finally the Flame made its way through to Greys, Heronsgate and Brentwood before finishing at Hyland House, Chelmsford in preparation for the evenings celebration ‘Sparks will Fly’
Saturday 7 July 2012, six more towns and villages across Essex welcomed the Olympic Flame on its journey from Chelmsford to Cambridge.
Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member for Education. Life Long Learning and the 2012 Games commented: “As Essex waves goodbye to the Flame as it makes its final journey through Essex on it way to Cambridge, I have been completely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the communities across our county. The Flame has now travelled across the county from its start in Colchester to its final Essex stop in Saffron Walden. Hundreds of inspiring Torchbearers have carried the Flame and hundreds of thousands of Essex residents have lined the streets to cheer it on its journey and support those carrying the Flame. The whole experience of the Olympic Torch Relay has been awesome. To see so many people come out and support it and to have witnessed the journey of the Flame to our magnificent venues in Hadleigh and Lee Valley is something I will always remember. Essex has been a part of history and we should all be very proud!”
The Flame, which started its journey in Chelmsford just before 7am this morning, made its way through the town to hundreds of cheering residents and along the high street carried by 65 years old Sylvia Sergeant from Chelmsford. Sylvia has been involved with Chelmsford Athletic Club for 30 years coaching young athletes and judging at field events. Sylvia retired as Head of P.E. at Chelmsford County High School in 2006 and still returns as a coaching volunteer
From there the Flame travelled to Harlow before journeying to the historic town of Waltham Abbey. Hundreds of local residents turned out to this beautifully decorated town to welcome the Flame.
On leaving Waltham Abbey the Flame made its way to the Olympic White Water Canoe Slalom venue in Lee Valley, where 20 year old British Junior Canoeist Zachary Franklin from Windsor, paddled the Olympic Flame down the rapids. Zachary was selected because of his commitment and dedication to his sport of Canoeing and inspiring his peers through his sporting success, as well as currently completing his coaching qualification to help train others.
The Flame then journeyed out of the County to Hertford and Bishop Stortford, before making its way back into the county for its final journey stops in Stansted Mountfitchet, Newport, where crowds saw celebrity Chef and local Essex Man Jamie Oliver run his leg of the relay. Finally the Flame was welcomed by an estimated 30,000 residents as it made its way into its final Essex stop of Saffron Walden.
The Blue Peter Tour also came along to Saffron Walden offering an exciting opportunity for CBBC fans to get up close and personal with one of their favourite programmes. One of only nine such events being held across the UK and the only one in the south east and east of England, the tour attracted around 1600 people.
To find out more about the Olympic Torch Relay in Essex visit www.facebook.com/essexcountycouncil