Don’t miss out on chance of a lifetime

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A RALLYING call has been made for community groups to book their place in a celebration to mark the arrival of the Olympic torch in Alnwick next June.

A local committee has been set up, involving representatives from the business community, charities, social groups and tourist attractions, to galvanise support for the event, backed by Northumberland County Council’s 2012 Team and Northumberland Sport, who are working closely with the London Organising Committee (Locog).

An official Olympic roadshow will roll into town on June 14, when the torch will make an overnight stay before heading for Newcastle on its journey around the British Isles.

But with the eyes of the world focusing on north Northumberland, plans are afoot to extend the occasion and turn it into a week-long jamboree which will showcase the best facets of the county town and its people.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin, who is chairing the committee, said: “This is not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Alnwick and its surrounding district, but a once-in-its-history event, as the Olympics will likely never return to the town in this way.

“We have to make the best of this golden opportunity. I would hate to wake up the day after the torch leaves and think that we could have done more.

“That’s why we want as many different groups and individuals as possible to get involved and join the celebrations, making their own mark on Alnwick’s time in the global spotlight.”

Ideas currently under discussion include staging mini versions of local annual events, such as the International Music Festival, Food Festival and Respect, which involves youth groups.

Sporting activities are likely to feature heavily, including tournaments ranging from athletics and swimming to darts and chess, plus traditional combat arts including fencing, archery and wrestling, all of which will culminate in a closing ceremony at which medals will be awarded.

The committee is now planning to write to local businesses to ask for their support.

If you want to get involved, you can contact Paul Larkin by emailing paul.larkin@northeast-press.co.uk or ring 01665 602234.