The Olympic flame arrived on British soil on 18 May for a 70 day tour of the nation before arriving for the London 2012 opening ceremony and Swindon welcomes it on Wednesday 23 May.
You’ve invited to take part in the great day in front of the Big Screen at Wharf Green, Swindon Town Centre – one of only 22 live sites visited by the torch during its tour of the UK.
Local athletes, volunteers and torchbearers are set to join in the festivities. Torchbearer Carney Bonner, 18, right, from Priory Vale, will be carrying the flame through Chiseldon, just outside Swindon. He said: “It is such an incredible honour to be picked. I couldn’t believe it at first, but now it’s so close I’m really excited and a bit nervous too. I hope I don’t drop it.”
InSwindon chief executive Simon Jackson, pictured below centre, with Ben Fox from Westlea, left, who will carry the torch in Gloucester, and Damien Davis from Cricklade, joint coordinator of Team Wayne who have raised over £9,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research in memory of Wayne Wilson. Photo: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com
Ben plays for the Great Britain under 23 wheelchair basketball team and coaches Swindon Rockets. The New College BTEC sports student aims to compete at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He was nominated to carry the flame by his father Andy through the Coca-Cola Future Flames scheme.
Norman Butler from Westlea, below right, will be helping to steward the flame route through Swindon but has also been selected to carrying the flame in Lewisham in July. In late 2001 he rowed across the Atlantic in a boat he called the Spirit of Swindon, having been inspired by Steve Redgrave winning gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Since then he has become a stalwart volunteer with the SMASH youth mentoring project, and has raised over £20,000 for good causes.
Norman said: “I’m thrilled to be selected to carry the flame on one of the stages and also to be a torch relay volunteer on 23 May.”
Also carrying the flame is world class junior tennis player from Cricklade Sam Hutt, bottom.
Simon Jackson, Chief Executive of inSwindon, said: “This is a great opportunity for Swindon to start to gather momentum for the excitement of the Olympics. We are encouraging as many people as possible to take full advantage of the Big Screen being one of only 22 live sites across the country and welcome everyone down to take part.”
Bernie Brannan, Swindon Borough Council Board Director Service Delivery, said: “This is an exciting day, which signals the start of a very special countdown. Sporting excellence thrives in Swindon and our local Torchbearers really capture the tremendous spirit of the Olympics. There are all sorts of events and activities in the run-up and during the Games and I encourage everyone to join in the fun.”
You can find out about local Olympic-related news and events by following the Facebook page www.facebook/swindon2012
The programme for the arrival of the flame at Wharf Green in Swindon on Wednesday 23 May
11.30 Wheelchair Basketball Match
12.00 Local schools begin procession to Wharf Green from Cenotaph
12.05 Performance from Esprit Gymnastics
12.15 Procession arrives at Wharf Green
12.25 Swindon Fencing Club display
12.45 Performance from Swindon Dance
1.00 Performance from Cheerleaders
1.15 Performance from aerial artists
1.30 Interviews with VIP’s
1.37 Olympic Torch arrival
1.45 Performance from Bollywood Dancers
2.00 Esprit Display Team perform
2.20 End, procession leaves Wharf Green
After the flame departs the town centre it will pass Swindon’s famed Magic Roundabout where Swindon fire station is throwing open its doors to the public from 11am and 2pm.
People can visit the Drove Road site and meet their local firefighters –fire engines and specialist appliances will be on display, together with animal and water rescue equipment. There will also be an ambulance from Great Western Ambulance Service and security advice from the Bobby Van.
Watch Manager Greg Izon, whose Green Watch will be on duty on the day, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and we wanted the fire station to be at the heart of the celebrations. It will be free to come in – although any donations we receive for refreshments will go to the Fire Fighters Charity – and we want people to come along and see what we do.”
See the route of the flame through Swindon at www.swindon.gov.uk/2012
Left, the Olympic flame starts in journey in Cornwall. Photo: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com
Check out the torch relay route map across Britain
Below, the A to Z of reasons of why you should take time out on Wednesday to line Swindon’s streets to see the torch