Torch Relay Success in Staffordshire
Thousands of people lined the streets of Burton, Streethay, Lichfield, Hopwas, Tamworth, Great Wyrley and Newtown, on Saturday 30 June to watch the spectacular Olympic Torch Relay as it made its second visit to the county. Crowds lined the way, waving flags and banners and cheering on the 30-plus inspirational Torchbearers.
It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 people in Burton came out to watch the Torch Relay, 40,000 in Tamworth and around 25,000 people in Lichfield. A further 14,000 people also turned out on stretches of the A34 near Great Wyrley to wave on the Torchbearers.
The Torch Relay also made a special visit to the National Memorial Arboretum, which coincided with Armed Forces Day. In a moving tribute, Corporal Johnson Beharry VC carried the flame up to the main armed forces memorial in the grounds.
Staffordshire County Councillor, Pat Corfield, Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities said:
“What a spectacular sight and what a real treat for everyone to be able to be involved in this marvellous event. Staffordshire was lucky getting two bites of the cherry, with the Torch Relay’s visit through Stafford on 30 May and then its return on Saturday.
“I was lucky enough to catch the Flame three times – Lichfield, Tamworth and Great Wyrley. It was an amazing day full of smiling people, waving flags and cheering as the Torchbearers made their way through the crowds.
“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes with our partners at the District councils, the police and fire service to make sure that everyone knew about the relay and those things went smoothly on the day. And, from what I could see it seems to have gone well.
“Talking to many local businesses on the day, I was also delighted to hear that most of them have enjoyed a successful day’s trading with the extra crowds turning out to watch the Torch Relay.”
Kath Perry, County Councillor for Cheslyn Hay, Essington & Great Wyrley said:“What a fantastic day! The atmosphere was electric despite the down-pour, which didn’t deter the people. There was a crowd of between 5 to 8 deep, more in places all along the A34 for a far as the eye could see, from tiny babies to 90 plus year olds; a sea of people and flags.
The communities of Great Wyrley, Newtown and the surrounding areas really did Staffordshire proud on what was an event that was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see in our villages. Congratulations and well done to everybody! It makes you feel very proud.”
Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council said:
“I watched the Torch Relay make its second appearance in the county and saw inspirational Torchbearer Johnson Beharry carry the Olympic Flame through the National Memorial Arboretum. It was fantastic to see such a hero as Corporal Johnson play his part in the Relay and on such an important day as Armed Forces Day. The whole experience was very moving and the people of Staffordshire should feel immensely proud of the support that they gave to the events.”
Councillor Val Richards, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said:
“We were so lucky with the weather, as the clouds broke and glorious sunshine fell on the city and district, in time for thousands of people to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity and see the Olympic Flame pass by. The atmosphere was brilliant and we’re delighted so many people stayed on in Lichfield City to enjoy the events to celebrate this historic day. Our thanks to the 200 plus volunteers who helped to make sure the event ran smoothly and safely, and to all the organisations and groups that worked so hard to make this a day to remember.”
Councillor Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader, Tamworth Borough Council said:
“Tamworth Borough Council is very proud to have secured Tamworth as a host community for the London 2012 Olympics Torch Relay, over 40,000 people came to Tamworth to cheer on the torch. In places the croud was six people deep.
“The Torch ended its journey in the shadow of Tamworth Castle and was met by the Colour Party of the Mercian Regiment, Saxon Warriors, Tamworth’s unsung sporting heroes and the Mayor of Tamworth. The relay and Olympic Festival was an huge success and showcased local community sports and groups, offering residents a chance to try new sports and celebrate all things Olympic. Well done to everyone involved in making the relay such a success, Tamworth is thankful to you all.”