The 2012 Olympic flame circled Whitchurch yesterday as it passed through Newbury, Basingstoke, Winchester and Andover on its journey through the UK towards the Olympic stadium. The 70-day long route brings colour and excitement in the build up to the opening ceremony, where the flame will be used to light the Cauldron, marking the official start of London 2012.
Thousands turned out in Basingstoke with the crowds packing every possible space in the Top of the Town.
Flags were waved, horns hooted and cheers rang out each time a vehicle passed – police outriders, the torchbearers’ bus, the publicity vehicles or the trick cyclist. Then amongst it all was the Olympic Torch itself, being proudly held aloft.
The entourage headed towards the town’s edges where even more were thronging the roadsides.
Video taken in Winchester Road as the Torch Relay passes:
The same took place in hundreds towns and villages around the country, but this was our turn. From Basingstoke the torch was taken to Winchester, where again the streets were lined as it was carried through the historic city with a highlight of passing the Cathedral.
Then up to Andover and the story was the same. With the sun out, families and children, packed the roadsides. Here there was a marching band and dancers in the street, while many set up picnics in their front gardens.
Meanwhile the pubs along the route did a roaring trade in drinks and BBQs.
Then again the Torch appeared and passed by to loud cheering as it spread its message of Peace, Unity and Friendship.
For most people this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the flame that has come from Athens. Whitchurch was right in the middle of all this and while it did not pass through the town local people went out and celebrated as it circled the area.
Meanwhile, the Games are looming ever closer and the excitement mounts. Just two weeks to go…
Click on pictures to enlarge.
Look out for further Olympic coverage.