Carnival-sized crowds packed Cromer town centre today (Wednesday) to cheer the torch down to the pier, where local fitness instructors, dance school children and performers from the summer variety showed entertained the people-lined cliff paths and prom.

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The “kiss” in front of the iconic pier saw keen marathon runner Chris Walker hand the flame to Harry Heathfield from Holt as part of the torch relay.

Other runners in the town were Josie Andrews, Nicky Wardale and 12-year-old Cromer Academy schoolgirl Natasha Smith, who has a rare kidney disorder who did the first leg in town,

She said the experience was “cool”, and proud mum Melanie Poynter said her daughter “so deserved to do this. She’s been through so much in the last couple of years and has really battled through. She’s been an inspiration.”

Earlier more than 2,000 people, enjoyed an Olympic extravaganza at her school including sports taster sessions and live music.

North Norfolk District Council co-ordinated the action at the pier, which saw instructors from the Sheringham Splash leisure centre doing demonstrations, followed by 87 children from Marlene’s school of dance doing routines, along with the Seaside Special cast who did show excerpts including Summer Holiday, and a British celebration.

Council leisure and cultural services manager Karl Read said civic dignitaries from other towns not being visited by the torch were invited to the Cromer event.

The torch arrived in Cromer at 4.15pm but people were camped out to claim prime vantage points outside the church and Hotel de Paris from noon.

Mr Read said the reaction to the torch visit had been positive and had seen a boost to visitors to the town - but he also hoped it would increase interest in sport.

“This will give people in North Norfolk a chance to touch the Olympics and see the power of sport, and hopefully inspire them to join a club,” he added.

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