June

York Press: 16-year-old Scott Stockdale posing with the Olympic Torch on the bar walls 16-year-old Scott Stockdale posing with the Olympic Torch on the bar walls

The headline in The Press on June 20 captured the mood nicely: Flame, Set and Match, it ran.

The previous day, thousands of cheering spectators had lined the streets as the Olympic torch was carried through the city. Glorious sunshine added to the carnival atmosphere.

The glory days of the London Olympics were yet to come, and many across the country were sceptical about the value of the Olympics, or what they would mean here in Yorkshire.

But all such doubts were forgotten amid the excitement as the flame arrived in North Yorkshire at the village of Lythe, near Whitby; was carried to Pickering on the North York Moors Railway, then made its way to Hull, before reaching York the following day via goole and Selby.

In York, the flame was carried along Tadcaster Road, along the Bar walls, through the city centre, and then back to Knavesmire, where it was carried on horseback by Olympic showjumper Harvey Smith.

Its arrival there was the signal for a big party.

This was the moment the Olympics really came home to the people of York. “Everybody who’s been here to see the torch will be able to tell their children about the day it came to York and show them the pictures years down the line,” said 29-year-old Naomi Cullen, from Haxby.

In other news, Betty’s tea rooms in St Helens Square celebrated its 75th birthday; the National Railway Museum staged Railfest; and York and North Yorkshire partied yet again, as thousands took part in street celebrations to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Nave of York Minister was carpeted in grass for a special dinner to celebrate both the Jubilee, and the York Minster Rose – a rose variety which had been launched at the Chelsea Flower Show.

In a sign of worse to come later in the year, torrential rain brought flooding in York and across the area. Plans were submitted to convert the council offices in St Leonard’s Place – which will become empty once the authority moves into its new West Offices HQ early next year – into an upmarket hotel.


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