Olympic torch route revealed

Local people learn the part they will play in the build-up to this summer’s games.

THE agonising wait is over for local hopefuls hoping to play their part in the build-up to this summer’s London 2012 Olympics.

The game’s organising committee has confirmed places for the 8,000 inspirational torchbearers, tasked with carrying the Olympic flame through cities, town and villages around the UK.

The official route the torch will take on Monday, May 21 has also been unveiled today (Monday).

Those confirmed to carry the flame through Merton, Torrington, Bideford, Barnstaple, Braunton, Knowle, Ilfracombe, Combe Martin, Lynton and Lynmouth were selected following a public nomination process

Each will each wear a white and gold uniform which has been designed by Adidas.

Among the torch bearers carrying the flame through Bideford are Duncan Withall, 65, from Bideford, and Joey Davis, 45, from Barnstaple.

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Barnstaple torch bearers include 85-year-old Tony Hill, from Wiveliscombe; Frank Biederman, 41, from Fremington; and Rick Dean, 36 and Tori Lau, 16, both from Barnstaple.

In Ilfracombe, those selected include and Tom Hack, 19, and Leo Cooper, 27, both from the town. They will be joined by Grace Beal, 17, from Bideford; Thomas Tucker, 12, and Daniel Weston, 19, both from Barnstaple.

John Cass, 41, from Combe Martin, will be carrying the flame through the village, while Laura Bennett, 22, will do the honours in her hometown of Torrington.

John Cass, who will be covering the Combe Martin leg, was nominated for his fund-raising efforts for various charities, such as Help for Heroes and Tommy’s the baby charity.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to be carrying the Olympic torch and hope the whole village, as well as those in neighbouring communities, will come out to support this once-in-a-lifetime event as it goes through North Devon.”

Duncan Withall will be running a 300metre section of Kingsley Road in Bideford, one of three people to do the Bideford leg and the only one who actually lives in Bideford.

He said: “I am 65 and out of condition, but I’m sure I can manage it. It’s an opportunity to be involved in something that won’t happen again in my lifetime.

“The Olympics may be mainly in London, but a lot of Devon people will be involved on one way or another, either working there or with companies supplying the venue, so in that respect it is a national event.

“The torch run is only going to be 10 minutes in Bideford, but it will be something that people will remember and the schools will be out to see it go through,” added Mr Withall, who is the Bideford co-ordinator for Street Pastors and School Pastors and is also well known for his work with local churches as a lay preacher.

Councillor Derrick Spear, North Devon Council’s executive member for culture, said: “Now that we know the exact route that the Olympic torch will be taking through North Devon, local people can start to plan where they will watch the Olympic flame.

“We want as many people as possible to line the streets and cheer on those that have been chosen to carry the torch.”

An average of 115 Torchbearers a day will carry the Olympic flame during its 8,000 mile journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on July 27 for the lighting of the cauldron at the opening ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

For street-by-street details and times about where you can catch a glimpse of the Olympic flame and cheer on the efforts of the torchbearers, click on the link at the top right of this page.

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