The people of Preston attended in their thousands this morning to witness the Olympic torch relay make its way through the city.Advertisement
After a tumultuous night in which parts of the city were battered with persistent heavy winds and rain, causing residents in some areas such as Lower Penwortham to evacuate their homes in fear of floods, the arrival of the Olympic torch provided some brief respite.
Before the torch had even arrived in Preston from Warton, crowds began to gather at key points along the route such as Tulketh Brow, Fishergate, the flag market and New Hall Lane. By 7.30am, people were already lining the streets along the entire route, from Lane Ends to the Tickled Trout.
As the Olympic convoy approached, children could be seen waving flags and high-fiving police officers on motorbikes. The torchbearers, spurred on by cheers and fanfare, only stopped to exchange ‘kisses’ with the next runner’s torch and pose for photographs with patriotic onlookers.
After the torch had left Preston along New Hall Lane at around 9am, the flag market hosted a Big Dance event where children from local dance troupes and community groups could be seen strutting their stuff.
Preston Council estimates that 10,000 people attended today in total.
Labour Councillor for Town Centre ward, Drew Gale, watched the torch arrive in Preston with his 2 year old daughter Scarlett. He said: “It was wonderful to see thousands of Preston citizens turn out to cheer on the Olympic torch through our city’s streets. The carnival atmosphere and camaraderie I experienced just goes to show what great community spirit there is here in Preston”.
Craig Proudfoot, 28, from Preston, and his son Alfie, 20 months, didn’t have to travel far to see the torch on its way: “Luckily for my son and I, we live just off Flyde Road so it was only a short walk to see it. We were also very close to where the change of runners was. I really liked it and the lady running was happy for us to get a picture with her”.
Rose Handley bagged a great view with her two young children: “It was great seeing the torch in Preston. Everyone was so friendly – letting my 6 year old daughter go to the front so she could see and offering to put my 2 year old son on their shoulders! It was a brilliant turn out for such an early start”.
Sarah Steele, 37, from Fulwood, summed it up: “It was great to see lots of people lining the streets and cheering on the torchbearers, especially so early on a Saturday morning. Preston at its best.”
Lots of people got in touch with us on Twitter throughout the day to describe their experiences and share pictures of the torch along the way.
@bigvaldrewski: @blogpreston Me and my 2 year old daughter Scarlett with the torch, great day for Preston #communityspirit http://t.co/br9p6mce
@jo_jos_mojo: @blogpreston Preston did itself proud with the turn out! Here’s my boy waiting with Wenlock! http://t.co/s7roqAyE
@BUde_icia: Proud moment as the #OlympicTorch reaches #Preston. Thought I’d share it for those who missed out @blogpreston http://t.co/a4JlJr51
We captured all the action. Check out our pictures below:
Also take a look at these shots from local photographer Bernie Blackburn: http://www.flickr.com//photos/bernieblac/tags/olympictorchrelay/show/