THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of Frome to welcome the Olympic Torch relay as it passed through the town on Tuesday.
And by the time it reached the town centre the streets were packed with excited onlookers, who say they will remember the experience for the rest of their lives. The torchbearers proudly carried the torch from Marston Road, through the town centre, and out on Bath Road as it travelled on towards Southwick.
Mayor cllr Nick White said, “The number of people that turned out was just extraordinary. It was fantastic, it was really great that Frome got behind this and supported it so well. I think people thought ‘this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I want to be part of it.’” “It was really encouraging to have such a level of support, and I think it was an emotional experience as well.” Onlookers told the Frome Times that they had not been disappointed. One said, “This has been a fantastic thing for Frome. It was really good, we didn’t realise so many people would turn out!” Another said, “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It was lovely to see so many of the schoolchildren come and watch.” Another onlooker said, “It was a really great moment and I think it’s great that people will have come to Frome from elsewhere to see it.”
Chris Dalley, a Bristol University student nominated for his entrepreneurial skills, was the first to receive the Olympic Flame on Marston Road. European Youth Olympic 100m Silver Medalist Leon Reid was among the torchbearers. Other torchbearers were Faye Norris, a fundraiser from Shepton Mallet; Gavin Harvey from Salisbury, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan; Ian Jankinson, a sports volunteer in Wiltshire; John Reynolds, a Bath runner; and Matthew Leighton-Fry, a sportsman from Corsham.
Frome woman, Philippa Vernon-Powell, carried the torch earlier in the day on its journey through Glastonbury. Although from the town, she spends her time in Mexico working for charity New Life Mexico which provides support for children living on the streets.
An average of 115 torchbearers a day will carry the Olympic Torch during its 8,000 mile journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on 27th of July for the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.