Town mixes with the big boys for torch show

THE sheer task of putting on a show to welcome the Olympic Torch for its overnight stop in Alnwick next year is becoming clear.

A survey of all the places en route charged with hosting the torch through the night and putting on an evening show that will be televised around the world reveals Alnwick, with its population of 8,000, is the third smallest.

Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria is the smallest, with a population of 3,918.

Among the 66 overnight venues, 52 of the towns and cities have a population above 100,000. The others with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants are Portrush in Northern Ireland (6,673) Aberystwyth (18,000), Bangor (21,725), Newry (28,000), Alnwick and Bowness.

Either side of Alnwick, hosting the torch on Thursday, June 14, will be the evening extravaganzas at Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Plans are well under way for a week-long celebration around the torch visit to showcase everything that is or has been great about the county town. It will be called the Festival of Alnwick.

“It is clear as a community we will have to pull out all the stops to put on a show to compare with most of the venues,” said festival co-ordinator Karen Larkin.

“We may not have the resources of the big cities but we have the advantage of a strong community spirit and a willingness to put on festivals to entertain locals and visitors alike.

“This is a great opportunity for all community and sporting groups to get involved and help make this the country’s best Olympic Torch celebration. We want to put on a really good show involving as many people as possible, particularly the young.

“The aim is to have as many sporting competitions as possible, with the winners getting specially-made medals. It is going to be quite an occasion.”

Contact Karen on 07846542929 or email Karen@alnwickfoodfestival.co.uk if your club wants to join in.

The Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK from Greece on Friday, May 18, and the 70-day Torch Relay will start at Land’s End on the following morning. It is expected to travel 8,000 miles, giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine.

The torch will arrive at the Olympic Stadium on July 27 for the opening ceremony.