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June 9, 2004

Olympic torch party

From: ic, UK - Jun 9, 2004

By Mandy Little, Greenwich Mercury

WITH banners, fireworks and drum rolls Greenwich is getting ready to greet the Olympic torch relay in style.

The borough and its World Heritage Site is to be one of the major stages in the global relay of the 2004 Olympics flame on its route through London on Saturday, June 26.

The torch will be making its first visit to the capital since the 1948 games on its way to Athens and will be carried by 140 different runners including famous Olympians, celebrities and people who have achieved extraordinary goals in life.

The relay is due to spend half an hour in the borough. After running through Peckham and New Cross and up Blackheath Hill the torch bearers are due to cross Blackheath to reach the south gates of Greenwich Park at about 1.30pm. The route is then through the park to King William Walk, down to Trafalgar Road to the Old Royal Naval College site, then on to arrive in Cutty Sark Gardens at around 1.50pm.

The council is hosting a big community event in the gardens from 12.30pm until 2.30pm to entertain spectators who turn out for this historic occasion with music, dance and pyrotechnics.

Banners are being created by 10 schools to reflect the coming together of almost 200 nations which will compete in the games.

A drum call and response will be staged as the runners leave from Greenwich Pier around 1.50pm by boat to the north side of the river.

Council leader Chris Roberts said: "The Olympics are the biggest international event to highlight sporting excellence to which some of us can aspire and all of us can admire.

"I hope residents will turn out on the day and tell the world how proud we are of our borough and how keen we are to promote the Olympic ideal."

The chosen runners include Sir Roger Bannister, 75, the first man to break the four-minute mile and youngsters including profoundly deaf Tae Kwondo champion Kylie Johncock, 16, from Catford, and dancer and carer Harriet Macauley, 22, from Sydenham.

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2004