Thursday, 19 July 2012
Thousands line the streets of Thanet for Olympic Torch Relay
Thanet’s moment to shine was reflected by both the weather and the cheering crowds who turned out in their thousands to see the Torch Relay pass.
Thanet District Council’s months of preparations paid off, as Kent’s longest torch relay made its way through smoothly on day 62.
School children, workers, tourists and townspeople all lined the streets to see the 67 torch bearers including the four celebrities – Tracey Emin, Steve Backley, Karen Pickering MBE and Elena Baltacha.
The estimated crowd numbers for the entire route was 120,000.
Many came out a couple of hours before the relay was due to pass to secure their spot and help create a welcoming atmosphere.
People waved their flags, came out to cheer the relay on and became a part of history as they greeted the world-famous procession on its final miles before arriving in London.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “The support from people in Thanet was amazing. They all got right behind it, cheered, clapped and waved their flags as it passed.
“Thank-you to everyone who made it such a memorable occasion and for making the efforts of everyone involved in organising the day, worthwhile. The community spirit really shone through with celebrations going on in every corner of the area making the day truly momentous. It’s one of those days we will never forget and are proud to say we were a part of.”
Steve Backley ran with the torch in Ramsgate and posed for a photo pretending to use the Torch as a javelin. He then tweeted: ‘Some amazing people – I’m very humbled to be part of this group today.’ Karen Pickering tweeted ‘Thank you Margate for making me feel so welcome before, during and after my run.’
Elena Baltacha carried the flame through St Peter’s – before her run she tweeted: ‘sooo excited.’
The highlight for many people was the arrival of Tracey Emin at Turner Contemporary, who was greeted by a roaring home crowd. As she took the torch inside, she said it was a surreal.
Amongst the people inside were Thanet District Council’s leader Cllr Clive Hart, Chairman Cllr Doug Clark and Margate Mayor, Cllr Will Scobie.
After five minutes inside for photographs, she emerged to pass the torch to Karen Pickering MBE for the next leg of the relay.
She said: “Carrying the Torch was absolutely surreal and to bring it to the Turner, a gallery that wasn’t even here just over a year ago to where my own exhibition is, was amazing. I can’t believe the crowds – there are so many people here which is great to see.”
She took some time after the hand-over, to chat with the crowds who had come to see her, have photographs taken and accept gifts from some young admirers, as well as a cuddle with her mum.
The torch will now visit the north of the county on Friday 20th July before making its way to London for the opening of the Olympic Games on 27 July.
Were you there on the day? Who did you see? Were you dressed up? Did you decorate your home, school or workplace? Where did you watch it? What did it mean to you? Let us know or send us a photos for our website, www.thanet.gov.uk.
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why not Tweet us and tell us about your experience? Find us on Twitter – @ThanetCouncil.