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Ryedale prepares to welcome Olympic torch
Pupils at Pickering Infant School get ready for the arrival of the Olympic torch in Pickering on Monday with town mayor William Oxley and Coun Julie Hepworth
EXCITEMENT is building in Ryedale this week as the area prepares to welcome the Olympic torch as part of its 70-day tour of the country.
Thousands of people, including more than 2,500 schoolchildren, are expected to visit the town to watch the once-in-a-lifetime event.
The torch will be carried through Pickering as a rolling road closure stops traffic before travelling on to Scarborough.
Pickering mayor Coun William Oxley said it was fantastic that such a hugh national event was coming through the district.
“This is a huge honour for the town and we are very fortunate to be part of the relay,” he said.
“We are expecting an historic turnout with all the schoolchildren coming down who, along with local groups, have also provided a lot of the artwork to line the route.”
Coun Oxley said although the town was used to crowds with events such as the War Weekend, this was something completely different.
“There is a great deal of excitement in Pickering. Everyone is very upbeat and looking forward to welcoming the torch to this great town,” he said.
Philip Benham, general manager of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, said they hoped to use the A4 Pacific locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley and the locomotive Green Knight to carry the torch from Whitby to Pickering.
“The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is extremely privileged to be given the opportunity not only to carry the Olympic torch from Whitby to Pickering but it is the only heritage railway that is lucky enough to be carrying the torch on the footplate,” he said.
“The community is very much at the heart of the event and we have invited 220 schoolchildren from along the line to get onboard the ‘Torchbearer’ to help us celebrate this fantastic day.”
Among the invited party will be Rooney Massara, a former 1972 British Olympian rower and his wife who run Beech Farm Cottages just outside Pickering.
Rooney said: “My father took me to the 1948 Olympics when I was five.
“I was lucky enough to be in the British team for the Munich Olympics in 1972 and so as you can imagine I am excited about London 2012 and having the torch relay on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.”
As part of the celebrations, the bells of St Peter and St Paul’s Church will be rung by the members of the Scarborough and District branch of the Yorkshire Association of Change Ringers.
Volunteer photographers will also be capturing the events on film for a display at the Ryedale Open At Exhibition from July 7.
Coun James Fraser, chairman of the 2012 Torch Relay Ryedale Community Task Force, said: “So many people are really looking forward to the Olympic torch relay coming to Ryedale.
“As chairman of the community task force, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in welcoming the flame to our district.
“So many people have worked hard to try to ensure that this once in a lifetime event is one that everyone can enjoy.
“I am sure that it will be a fantastic event.”
• A FORMER Ryedale student has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch near Lichfield in Staffordshire.
He went on to Medical School at Leeds University and now works as an ENT surgeon in Burton on Trent.
Adrian’s parents and brothers live in Kirkbymoorside and his sister in Pickering.
He was nominated by a colleague to carry the torch through Streethay on Saturday, June 30 at 9.15am Adrian said: “I’m very proud to have been chosen as a torch carrier and be a representative of health care workers across Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield. It’s thrilling to have the opportunity of playing a small part in the 2012 Olympics.”
Olympic torch route
THE Olympic torch will be visiting Ryedale on Monday when it steams into Pickering on board a train on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
It is due to arrive in Pickering at 11.44am and will be carried by five torchbearers through the town with thousands of spectators expected to welcome its arrival.
Access to the station itself will be restricted and space in Park Street is limited.
The torch will be carried through Pickering, via Hungate and Eastgate, to Thornton Road Industrial Estate. Volunteer stewards will be on hand to provide information and assistance.
There will not be crowd barriers along the whole route and the road will only be closed as the torch relay passes by.
A rolling road closure will stop traffic while the flame is carried through the town for about 19 minutes. It will then travel to Scarborough in convoy mode and will not be visible to the public.
As part of the celebrations, a convoy of vehicles featuring the main sponsors will be about 30 minutes ahead of the main torch convoy and will give away promotional material to the crowds.
Spectators are advised to use public transport where possible to travel to see the Olympic Torch in Pickering.
On street parking along the route will not be available on the day. The Market Place will also be closed to traffic.
A Park and Ride service will operate from Pickering Showground on the A169, to Eastgate Square car park. Additional parking is available at Pickering Recreation Club. Charges will apply for both.
For more information a brochure is available to download by searching Torch Relay at: www.ryedale.gov.uk
Roger recalls the 1948 London Games
AS THE country prepares for London 2012, one Ryedale man has fond memories of the last time the Olympic Games were held in this country.
Roger Dawson, who lives in Thornton-le-Dale, spent a day at the 1948 London Olympics and still has a copy of the official programme.
“My dad was interested in athletics and he and some workmates decided to go down for the day and I went with them,” he said.
“It was Monday, August 2, and I was nearly nine.
“We left York train station at 3am and it took us four hours to get there and four hours back.”
Mr Dawson said they had seen a number of events that day from the discus qualifying to the women’s 100 metre final.
“It was all strictly amateur in those days and I remember one of the athletes getting banned because they had a company name on their shoe spikes,” he said.
“London was completely different then as well as the war had just ended and it was a bit like a building site.
Mr Dawson said he had got the old programme out when he knew the 2012 Olympics were coming to England.
“It cost one shilling and five pence at the time and had all the details of the events we watched that day,” he said.
“We had a really good day out but I haven’t applied for any tickets for this year – I’ll be watching it on the television instead.”
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