Day 52 of the Olympic Torch Relay

Monday, 16 July 2012
The Olympics Torch Relay dates back to the ancient games.  A traditional ceremony would be held at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece where the flame is lit from a mirror and the sun's rays. This tradition carries on in the modern games, with a series of torchbearers carrying it first around Greece (1,800 miles) before passing it to the host city.

The torch arrived in London on 18 May to be carried by a series of 8,000 torchbearers on a 70 day journey around the United Kingdom. On the morning of 9 July the Olympic torch passed through Milton Keynes on it's way to Oxford. To celebrate the occasion, work gave us the morning off (although I think most of my colleagues used the time for a lie in).

I joined the crowd of red, white, and blue supporters on Silbury Boulevard, finding the perfect spot right up front. We had a little while to wait but there was a great atmosphere to soak up. While some children were quite content waving their little Union Jacks, others were not as patient. It seemed whenever the parents would finally pacify the impatient ones, right on cue someone would walk by trying to sell flags, medals, or inflatable torches. The poor parents would then start all over again trying to calm down their children.

Waiting for the torch.

The procession finally reached Silbury Boulevard. The police drove past on motorbikes giving the children's outstreched hands a high-five (this was a particular favourite of the kids). Coaches with torchbearers who had either already done their duty or would be carrying the torch later in the day. Coaches of the London 2012 sponsors like Coca-Cola and Samsung. And finally the torch itself, carried by the surfer Gabriel VillarĂ¡n.

Gabriel VillarĂ¡n carrying the torch.

Although my glimpse of the torch was only brief, I'm so glad I saw it and am able to say that I took part in the celebration! You can find out more about day 52 or follow the rest of the route by visiting the BBC website. The last day of the relay is in 11 days time when the last torchbearer lights the cauldron and the games officially begin!

Erin x


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