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TORCH RELAY: Mystery runners to pass through West Dorset
TORCH fever is burning brightly in West Dorset as towns and villages prepare to give the Olympic flame a warm welcome tomorrow afternoon.
To add to the anticipation, ‘mystery’ torchbearers have been added to the list in the two towns, sparking speculation that a number of celebrities may be slotted into the schedule.
Bridport town clerk Bob Gillis said the route through Bridport, starting at 2.46pm had been extended.
“We now know that the torch will be on a slightly longer route than anticipated and start by Howard Road on East Road all the way down West Street to just past the medical centre.
“We are going to have seven torch bearers and it will be quite an event,” he added. Sheila Meaney has done a fantastic job of getting all the schools involved.
“There will be a fun run just before the torch comes through the town and certificates will be given to all the children who take part in that and I know they are all very excited to be chosen by their school to take part. It is becoming obvious, certainly to me, what an immense event it will be. I want to formally thank the police for all their support.
“I know that in other parts of the county the police are not giving so much support. We are very lucky in Bridport that Insp Mike Darby and Sgt James Rowe have been greatly supportive.
“The mayor and dignitaries will be out in front of the town hall to wave the torch through.
“It is going to be a well-managed event and should be a great day.”
Mr Gillis said apart from the three named torch bearers the new runners may remain unknown until the day.
“I understand some people have chosen to remain anonymous or they may be celebrities.”
The Spirit of Bridport festival team and Bridport Arts Centre are organising and co-ordinating a series of events around the town which they hope will be packed with children from local schools, local disabled groups, townspeople wearing hats, musicians and street performers.
There will be outdoor musical events in the arts centre Courtyard and on the town's newly refurbished square into the late afternoon.
IN LYME Regis the torch is due to arrive in the Charmouth Road car park at 3.35pm, before being borne through Broad Street, Pound Street and Cobb Road in front of cheering crowds.
There will be a Lyme version of the Olympic procession involving sporting organisations and a plaque will be unveiled at the Jubilee Pavilion in honour of the Corinthian rowers who conquered the Atlantic last year.
The town is expecting to be packed, with locals and visitors lining the streets and preparations have been made for an expected influx of thousands.
The Town Mill Cheesemonger will be selling ice cream and sorbet in edible 24-carat gold cones.
Crafted by Mermaid Gallery proprietor, Linzi West, the ‘golden torches’ are the Cheesemonger’s covered in fully edible 24-carat gold leaf.
The ice cream is from Mendip Moments and the total cost to a customer is £9.95.
Justin Tunstall, the cheesemonger, said: “As the torch comes to Lyme, we thought we'd do something fun and summery with that.”
IT WILL only last a few minutes but both Chideock and Burton Bradstock will be making the most of being picked to be part of Olympic history.
In Chideock, the relay is set to start at the eastern end of Main Street at 3.13pm and will end at the western end of the village before Chideock Hill.
The car park at Foss Orchard will be closed for the afternoon and a marquee will be erected to provide light refreshments. Toilet facilities will be available.
The parish council is hoping that as many people as possible on the main road will put up Union flags, flower arrangements or Olympic flags to welcome the torch to the village. In Burton Bradstock the torchbearers set off at 4.52pm on the B3157 coast road on the west of the village and run to the junction with Beach Road.
Burton Bradstock schoolchildren, who have the afternoon off to see the relay in Bridport, will have had their own Olympic sports day, complete with an opening and closing ceremony.
The village torch committee has organised an afternoon of events on the playing field – with free ice-cream for children – before the Olympic convoy passes through on its way to Abbotsbury, the next relay stage.
Stewards will be positioned along the route to give information to spectators and help make sure everyone can view the Torch safely.
The Olympic flame travels between relay stages in a convoy of vehicles and before the Torch arrives the ‘advance activation convoy’ will warm-up the crowds with music, sponsored vehicles and giveaways.