Norwich trees decorated to welcome Olympic Torch

An avenue of decorated trees is being created as Norwich prepares to welcome the Olympic Torch.

Culture Works East is currently dressing trees in Aylsham Road as part of a major art installation to celebrate the arrival of the historic flame next week.

Hundreds of metres of fabric is being wrapped around 14 trees in Norwich this week. Eight are in Aylsham Road, between the Boundary and the Lidl supermarket, with others in Exchange Street, Guildhall and Chapelfield Gardens.

The Bank Plain-based youth arts company has been running a series of projects with different groups of young people and artists to create the artwork.

Paula Sanchez, from Culture Works East, said: 'We wanted to come up with a good community engagement project which worked with young people and artists.

'We needed something visual for the Olympic Torch Relay route to bring it alive. The trees in Aylsham Road are stunning ashes and horse chestnut trees, and it seemed obvious to animate them.

'It's been fantastic. We've worked with 200 children and young people and they are really excited that their work is going to be so big and prominent for the torch.' Culture Works East has worked with visual artists Maggie Campbell and Matt Reeve, writers from Writers Centre Norwich including Luke Wright and Molly Naylor, and local schools and community groups to create the eye-catching designs featuring patterns, words and prints that reflect not only the Olympics but their international nature.

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Groups and schools involved include Sprowston High School, the Douglas Bader Centre – a pupil referral unit in Coltishall – and young people from the YMCA.

Workers from Norwich City Council contractors Biffa have been helping to dress the trees.

They will all be wrapped by Tuesday, ahead of the torch's arrival on Wednesday.

The decorated trees will form part of the welcoming party for the torch. Arriving into Aylsham Road, it will be greeted by magical mechanical boats, bands and performers. It will then head towards Chapelfield Gardens via Pitt Street, Exchange Street, City Hall and the Forum. The route is expected to be lined with people cheering and waving flags, giant bunting will be hung from City Hall and banners will be draped from lamp posts.

The city then has a jam-packed programme, late into the evening, as the torch makes an overnight stop in Norwich. This will include the Olympic stage show, street acts and a spectacular 3D building projection. Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur, pictured, said: 'We have worked with a wide range of community groups and cultural organisations to celebrate the Olympic Torch coming to the city. We are grateful to so many people for their enthusiasm and support. I hope now that everyone will come out next week to enjoy all the entertainment and decorations – to be part of something very special.'

Are you planning a celebration to welcome the Olympic Torch? Call Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

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