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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tynedale prepares for Olympics party

PLANS for huge celebrations are already under way throughout Tynedale, after news the iconic Olympic Torch Relay will pass through four communities, placing the area on the world stage.

Olympics

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has announced that, on Saturday, June 16, 2012, the flame will make its way through Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Riding Mill and Hexham.

The news, which has set minds racing over how the event can best be marked, will come as a surprise to many, who feared Tynedale would be missed out of the route.

But county councillor for Prudhoe West, Neil Bradbury, who is executive member for culture, said a strong case had been made for it.

“We knew the route was going through the east coast, and being a councillor in the west, I felt it was important as many people here could enjoy it as possible,” he said.

“I made the case, the council agreed with me, we made representations to LOCOG, and I think we got a good deal. It’s been frustrating not being able to tell people, but we weren’t going to let the cat out of the bag and risk losing it!”

Chairman of Wylam Parish Council, Tom Martin, who has been leading plans for Olympic-inspired events in East Tynedale, also expressed delight.

“It’s brilliant for the individuals involved from each community and it will definitely be a catalyst for related events, he said.”

The Olympic flame arrives in the UK on May 18, when it will be taken on a 70-day journey ending at London’s Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony.

On June 16, it will leave Newcastle, making its way into Tynedale.

The communities on the route are to act as ‘host locations’, drawing in crowds from surrounding areas so as many people as possible can see the procession.

Although the exact route of the torch has not been confirmed, Rector of Hexham, Canon Graham Usher, said: “It would be wonderful to see the flame run through the Abbey, and even into the crypt, which is the oldest part of Hexham, and I am already lobbying hard for this to be able to happen.”

Mayor of Hexham, Coun. Rad Hare, meanwhile, described the news as “wonderful”, adding he had asked Hexham Town Council to form a working group to start making plans.

Mayor of Prudhoe, Coun. Jennifer McGee, said: “It’s brilliant news and discussions will be ongoing to see how we can celebrate this.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to organise something for the day itself and I think the Glade area of Front Street would be the ideal place to have music and other things going on.

“Hopefully we’ll get the schools and the local children involved in it and I think it will be a special day for Prudhoe.”

Bobby Turner, whose family have run Riding Mill’s village shop for decades, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the village to be involved in such a prestigious event and everyone I’ve spoken to feels very proud and honoured Riding Mill has had the good fortune to have been selected to be part of the route.”

Chairman of Broomley and Stocksfield Parish Council, Coun. Maggi Hunt, said: “We’re just really excited and are starting to think about ways we can mark the event as a village.

“It’s something even very small children are unlikely to see again and we really want to make the most of it.”

London Games chairman Sebastian Coe said: “I want to encourage people across Northumberland to start planning how they can be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

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