Excitement mounts as Olympic torch relay route is revealed.

THE Olympic flame is to pass through villages and towns in North Devon and Torridge, it has been revealed today (Monday).

The torch will reach the region on Monday, May 21 and pass through as part of a 70-day 800-mile relay around Britain, starting at Land’s End on May 19 and finishing at the opening ceremony in London on July 27.

Merton, Great Torrington and Bideford, Barnstaple, Braunton, Knowle, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin, and Lynton and Lynmouth have all been selected to play a part.

They are among more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities chosen by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

The flame will be carried across the UK by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers, each of whom will have a story of personal achievement or contribution to the local community.

The successful nominees will be contacted with a conditional offer in December this year and final torchbearer places will start to be confirmed from February 2012 onwards.

North Devon and Torridge district councils are encouraging local people to share in the excitement of the Olympic Games as the torch passes through the two districts.

Councillor Barry Parsons, leader of Torridge District Council, called the event a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for local people to see the Olympic flame.

North Devon counterpart Cllr Brian Greenslade said: “It is fantastic news that the light of the Olympics will shine on North Devon next May.

“With so many of our towns being part of the Olympic torch relay route, it will mean that more local people will have the opportunity feel part of the event.

“We must ensure that we build an experience around this once in a lifetime event for our community, especially our youngsters.”

Nicky Davey, from Clinton Primary School in Merton, said: “The children will be thrilled to be part of the Olympic experience – we may never get the opportunity ever again here in Merton.”

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: “This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across North Devon to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”