Reaction to announcement that Saffron Walden, Newport and Stansted are on Olympic Torch Relay route

OLYMPIC fever is set to grip the district next summer when the iconic torch relay passes through ahead of London 2012.

Saffron Walden, Newport and Stansted Mountfitchet have been announced as three of more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities across the UK where torchbearers will be carrying the flame.

And Uttlesford District Council wants to encourage as many people as possible to join the celebrations and share the excitement of the day on Saturday July 7, 2012.

Cabinet member for community partnerships and engagement, Cllr Howard Rolfe – and the council’s lead member for the Olympics – said: “The arrival of the flame is the start of the countdown to the Olympic Games and is an opportunity for thousands of people from across Uttlesford to experience first hand the excitement of this historic sporting event.

“It gives us all the chance to celebrate the achievements of the torchbearers and shine a light on this vibrant district and its communities.”


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Chairman of the council’s Olympic Working Group, Cllr Mark Lemon, said: “For a district like Uttlesford it is a considerable honour to host the flame and I am sure that next July the streets will be lined with people cheering on our local torchbearers.”

The district is well represented in Essex, with three of the 17 places named on the route by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) – and excitement is already building in the area.

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SAFFRON WALDEN

Cllr Cliff Treadwell, mayor of Saffron Walden

“We are all very excited about the prospect of the Olympic Torch coming to

Saffron Walden and are looking forward to seeing what we can do to unite the town and celebrate what will be a truly historic and memorable event.”

Sir Alan Haselhurst, Saffron Walden MP

“I’m extremely pleased to hear that the torch is coming through the district and I think it will be very exciting for the whole community to gather along the route and see the Olympic flame go past, especially for school children in particular.

“It is great news for Uttlesford and I’ll be talking to district councillors about how we can get as many people as possible involved, and that includes torchbearers.

Surge Dhanda, headteacher at St Mary’s Primary School

“The week before we are having an off-curriculum Olympics-themed week. It will involve teaching children about the history, geography, PE and art to do with the Olympics and will run from 2-6 July, so the torch bearing will be a nice culmination for that.

“It will be fantastic for the children to then be able to go and see the torch on the Saturday because it will really bring the Olympics to life for them.”

STANSTED

Cathie Bonich, headteacher at Bentfield Primary School, Stansted Mountfitchet

“We are delighted to hear that the Olympic torch will be coming through Stansted as it gives the children the chance to feel involved in the whole occasion.”

Catherine Anderson, headteacher at Mountfitchet Mathematics and Computing College

“It is great for the area but just a shame for the school that it falls on a Saturday because we would have liked to get the children really involved in the day.

“It is huge for the children and may very well be a once-in-a-lifetime event for them to be able to see the Olympic torch.

“It is important they are a part of the Olympic Games and realise its significance in that it is not just an event in Essex or England, but is celebrated by the whole world.

Geoffrey Sell, chairman of Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council

“This is very good news for Stansted Mountfitchet. I am sure that residents will look forward to the arrival of the torch.”

NEWPORT

Andrew Yarwood, chairman of Newport Parish Council

“It’s fabulous that the Olympic torch is coming here as there are many places around the country that will not get to see it.

“It gives so many people the chance to see the torch and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“The next challenge is to create an event so as many people as possible can see it and that’s why we will be talking to schools and groups in the village like sport clubs, scouts, youth and church clubs, so we can engage with all these people, find out what ideas they have and see what they want to do.

Sean O’Hagan, headteacher at Newport Free Grammar School

“We are very excited about the Games and will be doing a number of activities in the build-up to them.

“The Olympic values are very important and they are something we will be focusing on.

“The torch symbolises a lot of this visual representation of these values and it is important for the students to be able to see it pass through the heart of their community and right outside their school.”

Jeremy Rose, found of Newport Business Association

“We would love to get involved with promoting it. It is a great thing to celebrate and to be involved with. We will be hanging out the bunting among other things.

“The impact on the businesses is negligable because it is just passing through. However, the shops may fare better.”

• The 70-day Olympic Torch Relay will start at Land’s End in Cornwall on May 19 and will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK. It will be carried by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers.

LOCOG said that more than 95 per cent of the population will be within just 10 miles of the Olympic Flame – although the street by street detail of the route will be confirmed next year.

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