The Olympic Torch Relay in Derbyshire
PUBLISHED: 15:56 23 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:39 20 February 2013
Excited crowds lined the route as the Olympic Torch made its way across the county. Geoff Ford reports...
From the moment the Olympic torch crossed the county border to Bolsover then on to Chesterfield on 29th June day 42 of its 70-day journey to London it was clearly going to be a momentous day. Official figures from Derbyshire Dales estimate that around 50,000 people lined the streets as the flame made its way through Matlock, Darley Dale, Chatsworth, Bakewell and Ashbourne, including a photocall at Matlock Baths Heights of Abraham. The sun shone, the atmosphere was electric. Thousands followed the route in Buxton, and by the time it arrived in Derby at 6.30pm, around 40,000 people lined the route through the city, while thousands more gathered in the Market Place and at Darley Park. Derbyshire 2012 Legacy Co-ordinator Rory Slater said of the visit, It surpassed all expectations. This was an opportunity to see an integral part of the Olympic Games come to where we live.
15-year-old Kya MacKay carried the flame into the city centre. The St. Benedicts student is an advocate for the rights of children both locally and at a national level. It was an amazing experience, Kya said afterwards. I hope that I can inspire other young people in care to see that anything is possible. The flame wound its way through the city to Darley Park where an estimated 25,000 waited for twice World Superbike champion James Toseland to light a cauldron on the stage. Live coverage on national television put Derby in the spotlight, one of only five such events on the Torch Relay.
For Debbie Watkins of Chaddesden, who was nominated by daughter Peggy for her work in the community, it was a birthday she will never forget. Cheered on by family and friends, she said The experience was out of this world, I couldnt believe the number of people who came along to support me. It was just incredible!
Friday evening had been a glorious occasion, with fine weather and a wonderful atmosphere among those who turned out to witness a piece of history. The following morning the Olympic flame left Derby Market Place at 6.30am in a downpour that has become typical of this summers bleak weather. That did not dampen onlookers spirits, however, and another 12,000 enthusiastic spectators lined the route out of the city, along Burton Road and Manor Road, to Derby Royal Hospital. Angela Warren completed the final stage in the city before the flame was taken to Burton en-route to the West Midlands. Among the well-wishers saying farewell to the flame was a group of nurses from the hospital dressed as Florence Nightingale. Hospital Assistant Director of Facilities, Paul Brooks, praised his staffs eagerness to get involved. They are a great team, he said, and there was no shortage of volunteers. Its a great occasion for them. It was a great occasion for everyone who turned out, whatever the weather, and one that will live in the memory for many years to come.