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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Torch Relay Day 28

"The Kiss" here close to the Quayside in Newcastle
There are lots of potential stories and I know from the hits to this blog that quite a lot of people are coming here looking for news about a number of significant issues currently generating a high profile.

So I thought I would write about Friday when I joined the Torch Relay on Day 28 as it made its way into central Newcastle.

The Torch Relay is really well organised with a selection of interesting vehicles clearing the way, rousing the crowds before the Torch itself, led by a media vehicle, is carried by one of 8,000 torch bearers. Each one carries the torch some 300 yards before handing over to another, lighting his or her flame in 'the kiss'.

The Torch is travelling in many different ways and on different modes of transport. For the most part white-suited joggers are carrying it through the streets of Great Britain (as well as Northern Ireland and Eire).

One of the fleet of ten Wrights Streetlites here taking a break in Wallsend.
They will join the fleet of Stagecoach South Wales when finished
For the Newcastle segment we drove past thousands of cheering people from Wallsend before arriving in a thoroughly appreciative City Centre crowd. From my vantage point in the BMW behind the Torch bearer it was amazing to see all the positive reactions of the crowd - more than half of whom were filming or photographing the event. Jack Charlton was the Torch Bearer briefly in the City Centre where I made a hasty exit from the BMW and made my way to the control centre high above the Quayside. From there it was incredible to see a wire hung from the Olympic rings of the Tyne Bridge some 200ft above the water. From there, soon after 1900, adventurer Bear Grylls, clutched the Torch and flew down a zipwire which brought him down the Quayside and the lighting of a cauldron.

The 'Activation' vehicles which precede the convoy

The Torch's job done for the night the crowd settled in to watch a football match on huge screens across the Tyne. (Not me I should add).

The Torch has some 40 days left to go - almost entirely now in England. When it reaches its last week it will be with us in London, spiralling around the suburbs before visiting the 1908 Olympic site at White City, and threading its way through Camden and Westminster before ending up in Hyde Park. Some interesting modes of transport may feature!

When all this exciting and frantic activity is completed, we will have arrived at the moment of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. THEN it REALLY starts!


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