As many of you will remember, the Olympic Torch visited Chelmsford on the 6th and 7th July, and I was delighted that Chelmsford was one of the cities chosen to host the flame for the evening during its tour of the UK.
The Torch arrived, for the first time ever to the city, after starting the day in Ipswich, passing through the likes of Colchester, Southend, Basildon and Brentwood, before arriving for an enjoyable evening celebration. This was the finale of Sparks Will Fly, the cultural celebration for the Olympics in Essex. Held in Hylands Park, where the flame stayed overnight, a capacity crowd of nearly 15,000 people gathered to watch spectacular performances and an Olympic cauldron being lit.
I was fascinated to find out that despite the size of it, the torch itself weighs little under a kilo, as well as having 8000 small perforations to represent each person who will have the honour of carrying the flame during its entire UK stretch. Of course, several included were locals and residents of Chelmsford, who represented our city with pride.
The relay resumed early the next morning from the Ruskin University campus, passing along Hall Lane, High Street, and Moulsham Street, where the crowds, including myself, certainly gathered in numbers despite the early start! The flame then made its way up to Cambridge to mark the end of the 50th day in the UK since it first set off from Lands End.
As I am sure most people agree, to see the Olympics on our doorstep, not only in London, but also in Essex, is a great event in our lives. Of the events taking place outside of London, Hadleigh Farm, the venue for the Olympic mountain biking, is nearby, and I am sure many Chelmsford residents will have tickets to see the vast variety of events such as those at the Games.
I do hope that everybody enjoys the games and takes advantage of the further great displays and events, not just sporting, but also cultural, which are taking place over the summer. Hopefully there will be further reason to celebrate in our city with success for Olympians such as Chelmsford’s very own Rebecca Gallantree in the women’s diving. ENDS