Olympic torch to tour West Sussex

THE OLYMPIC Torch Relay flame will be coming to West Sussex in July next year.

West Sussex will host the Olympic Flame on July 16 and 17, when it will pass through 16 local communities, including Chichester, Worthing, Crawley and East Grinstead.

People across the county will be able to share the excitement of the Torch Relay, the events happening around it and to celebrate the achievements of the local Torchbearers.

The West Sussex hosts are among more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities announced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) through which the Olympic Flame will be carried by Torchbearers during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay which is presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

LOCOG has worked closely with representatives from a number of sectors in the South East to devise the route.

Deputy Leader of the county council, Lionel Barnard, said: “West Sussex was quick to realise the benefits to be gained from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and I am very pleased to welcome the Olympic Flame. This will shine a light on many of our communities and be a special opportunity for us to see the Torch Relay. I hope many people will take up the opportunity to make this a really special two days.”

Sally Gunnell, Olympic gold medallist and Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex added: “The Olympics are such a wonderful inspiration to young people. Having the Olympic Torch travelling through West Sussex is a brilliant chance for communities to celebrate this once in a life time event, and to cheer the local people who have been chosen to run with the Olympic Flame.”

Sebastian Coe, chair of LOCOG said: “We are thrilled to confirm that West Sussex communities will act as host locations for the Olympic Flame, extending an invitation to people in the county to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay during its journey around the UK. This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across West Sussex to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational Torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”

The 70-day Olympic Torch Relay will start at Land’s End, Cornwall on the morning of May 19 2012. 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.

In announcing the villages, towns and cities LOCOG has realised the aspiration of taking the Olympic Flame to within an hour’s journey time of 95 per cent of the population. In fact, over 95 per cent of the population will be within just 10 miles of the Olympic Flame next summer. The street-by-street detail of the route will be confirmed next year.

People are invited to view the interactive map at www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelaymap to find their nearest community through which the Olympic Flame will be carried.

On the final day of the Olympic Torch Relay, it is LOCOG’s intention that the Olympic Flame will travel down the River Thames as it makes its way to the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Flame will be carried across the UK by 8,000 inspirational Torchbearers each of whom will have a story of personal achievement and/or contribution to the local community. In December this year, successful nominees will be contacted with a conditional offer and final Torchbearer places will start to be confirmed from February 2012 onwards.

Today LOCOG launches two new public participation programmes.

The ‘Local Leaders’ initiative is an invitation to people to take the 2012 Games into their community and create their own celebrations next year, for the Olympic Torch Relay and other key moments during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

People are encouraged to sign up to the Local Leader programme at www.london2012.com/localleaders to receive further information on a range of themed celebration ideas focusing on the Opening Ceremony evening, gardening, quizzes and barbecues and be in the front row to receive free London 2012 event materials to support events.

Also launched today is the ‘Get Set for the Olympic Torch Relay’ education resource, available to all schools registered with Get Set, London 2012’s official education programme. The aim of the resource is to provide schools with cross-curricular resources aimed at teachers working with 3 to 16 year olds to aid learning around history of Olympic Torch Relays, the design of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay and the Torch itself. A further education resource will launch next year to encourage schools to plan a welcome for the Olympic Flame and show support for the Torchbearers.

Lloyds TSB, official Education Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, have launched their Flame Followers schools’ programme which complements the Get Set resources, and gives schools once-in-a-lifetime opportunities be right at the heart of the excitement and celebrations of the Relay.