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Northumberland and Borders to shine as Olympic torch relay route announced

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

Olympians Jonathan Edwards and Denise Lewis and Austin Playfoot, a torchbearer from the 1948 London Olympics, with the new torch to be used in the relay

Northumberland and the Borders will play host to the Olympic torch over three days next June.

The final route for the relay countdown to London 2012 has been confirmed by the organising committee of the Olympic and Parlaympic Games, with the flame set to visit both urban and rural communities across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders in what promises to be a spectacular showcase for the area.

Starting in Edinburgh on June 14, the flame will pass through Peebles, Galashiels  and Duns before crossing the Scotland-England border at Berwick and heading south along the scenic north Northumberland coast to Bamburgh and then inland to Alnwick for an overnight stop.

On June 15 the flame will continue its journey towards London visiting Ashington twice in one day, Morpeth and then Tyneside where the cavalcade will end with an evening celebration in Newcastle with the torch being zip-wired from the Tyne Bridge.

The following day the route will cross over to Gateshead, South Shields and Sunderland before doubling back to Low Fell and along the Tyne Valley to Hexham and down into County Durham.

In all the flame will pass through 11 Border and 62 North East villages, towns and cities  – 17 of them in Northumberland – as it traverses the UK ahead of the Olympic Games’ official opening ceremony on July 27.

Tens of thousands of Northerners alone are expected to line the torch relay route for what will be a once in a lifetime chance to see the legendary flame, which will be lit in Olympia in Greece in May before being flown over to the UK by British Airways.

Starting in Land’s End in Cornwall on May 19, the relay featuring 8,000 torchbearers will take 70 days to pass through 1,018 places before reaching its final destination in London on the games’ opening evening.

Organisers say the relay will pass within an hour’s journey of 95% of the UK population, giving as many as possible the chance to be a part of the world’s greatest sporting event.

Lord Coe, LOCOG chairman, said: “I’m delighted that the Olympic torch relay will take the 2012 Games to almost every corner of the UK and that we have achieved our ambition to take the flame to within an hour’s journey of 95% of the population.

Former North East Olympic athletes Steve Cram and Brendan Foster (far left and right) mark the announcement of the locations of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay route

“Now everyone is invited to plan their welcome and find out where they can go to be part of this historic occasion. The Olympic Games are coming to you as the Olympic flame gives our people and places their moment to shine.”

Councillor Neil Bradbury, executive member for culture at Northumberland County Council, added: “Over the years, many of us have watched on television as the Olympic torch relay has passed through countries and communities across the globe.

“Now, incredibly, it is coming right through the heart of Northumberland and will shine the world spotlight on the special people and places of our county.

“The Olympic flame will not be coming this way again in our lifetime. It is a cliché but it is true, this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all and I am sure that Northumberland residents will join together to show their support for the Olympics and to be a part of this exciting and memorable experience.”

Specific street-by-street details of the relay route will be confirmed next year.

Newcastle’s St James’s Park will be one of the stadiums hosting Olympic football games with nine matches planned for July and August.

Below is a full rundown of when and where you can expect to see the Olympic flame in 2012.

Thursday June 14

Edinburgh
Duddingston
Musselburgh
Dalkeith
Lasswade
Loanhead
Bilston
Milton Bridge
Penicuik
Eddleston
Peebles
Innerleithen
Walkerburn
Selkirk
Galashiels
Earlston
Gordon
Greenlaw
Duns
Chirnside
Foulden 

Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Bamburgh
Alnwick (Evening celebration)

Friday June 15

Alnwick
Hipsburn
Warkworth
Amble
Ashington
Newbiggin-By-The-Sea
Ashington
Choppington
Morpeth
Hartford
Bedlington
Blyth
Whitley Bay
Cullercoats
Tynemouth
North Shields
Howdon
Wallsend
Newcastle upon Tyne (Evening celebration)

Saturday June 16

Gateshead
South Shields
Whitburn
Sunderland
Low Fell & Chowdene
Blaydon
Prudhoe
Stocksfield
Hexham
Riding Mill
Consett
Moorside
Castleside
Tow Law
Esh
Langley Park
Durham (Evening celebration)

Sunday June 17

Durham
Sherburn
Sherburn Hill
Haswell Plough
Peterlee
Horden
Blackhall Colliery
Hartlepool
Billingham
Sedgefield
Bishop Auckland
Shildon
Middridge
Newton Aycliffe
High Beaumont Hill
Harrogate Hill
Darlington
Stockton-on-Tees
Middlesbrough (Evening celebration)

Monday June 18

Middlesbrough
Redcar
Marske-by-the-Sea
Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Brotton
Carlin How
Loftus

Wednesday June 20

Barnard Castle

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