Memories ignited for gran Brenda

Brenda Rollo.
Brenda Rollo.

WHEN the Olympic flame passes through north Northumberland next year, it will be a moment to savour for young and old alike.

And Amble gran Brenda Rollo knows just how special the monumental occasion will be, after the 80-year-old saw the iconic torch more than half a century ago.

She was just a teenager when she laid eyes on the famous flame, as it passed through Windsor as part of the Torch Relay for the 1948 summer Games in London - the last time the city hosted the showcase sporting event.

It is a moment that she has never forgotten.

And the great grandmother of three, from Church Street, will get the chance to see the torch for a second time, after it was revealed that the flame will visit several north Northumberland communities in June, including an overnight stop in Alnwick and a trip through Amble – where she has lived for 58 years.

“It makes me feel proud, especially that it is coming to Amble. It is a great thing and it will be a great event,” she said.

Brenda, who also has two grandchildren, saw the flame all those years ago while she was on a family holiday.

“It was a great thing to see,” said Brenda, who lived in Ashington at the time.

“We were busy having lunch in a cafe.

“We saw people standing outside and the street was quite full. Someone in the cafe said the torch was coming through.

“I stood on a chair in the cafe and looked over the top and the torch went past – I saw the man running with it. It was a great thing to see.

“We didn’t realise that the torch was coming through. It was out of the blue but it was wonderful.”

Mother-of-one Brenda, a former dinner lady, may not have thought she would ever get the chance to see the flame again.

Then came the news that it would be stopping overnight in Alnwick.

But to find out that it would also be visiting Amble, as part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, was the icing on the cake.

“I had every intention to go to Alnwick to see it but now I will see it when it comes to Amble,” said Brenda, whose late husband Kit was a former Amble mayor.

She added: “It will be a great thrill to think that I will see it twice in my lifetime.

“There won’t be many people who will be able to say that and I am really privileged that I will be able to see it twice.

“But this time it is coming to me, not me going to it.”

The Northumberland route was announced by Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and has been picked to bring the flame as close to as many people as possible.

On Thursday, June 14, the torch will re-enter England from Scotland via Berwick, travel down to Bamburgh and then move to Alnwick for an overnight stop and evening celebration.

It will leave Alnwick on Friday, June 15, and visit Hipsburn, Warkworth and Amble, before continuing through the county – including appearances in Ashington and Morpeth – and on to Newcastle for the next overnight stay.