Olympic torch relay coming to Norwich and Norfolk before 2012 Games

The Olympic torch relay is coming to Norwich and Norfolk as it makes its way around the UK ahead of the 2012 Games.

The 70-day torch relay will begin at Land's End on May 19 next year and travel around the UK before arriving in Norwich for an evening event on July 4.

Norwich is one of just 66 evening celebration locations across the UK confirmed today by the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

The evening events will offer thousands of people the opportunity to come together and get involved in celebrations and share in the Olympic spirit.

As part of the events LOCOG and the Presenting Partners, Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, will stage entertainment shows where a cauldron will be lit from the Olympic Flame, marking the end of the day's proceedings.

The torch will then continue on to London for the start of the Olympic games on July 27.

New Norwich City Council leader Brenda Arthur said: 'This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put Norwich on the global map.

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'It's such an exciting event for the city to host and I'm really looking forward to getting as many communities involved in the run up to it.'

A nomination process will be used to pick the 8,000 torch bearers who will carry the Olympic flame around Britain.

London 2012 chiefs say the aim is for the torch to visit different communities and cultures ahead of the Games.

It will also be used to showcase Britain's towns, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sporting and cultural landmarks.

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, said: 'We are thrilled that Norwich City Council has agreed to host the Olympic Flame on its journey right across the UK.

'The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across Norwich, celebrating the culture and heritage of the area and showcasing the very best of the city.

'We have no doubt that the welcome Norwich City Council will provide will demonstrate how the spirit of the Olympic Games is reaching out across the UK and excitement builds as the start of the 2012 Games draws closer.'

About 95pc of people will be within an hour's journey of seeing the torch, which will travel for about 12 hours each day.

The 2008 torch relay ahead of the Beijing Olympics was overshadowed by protests as it made its way around the world.

The London leg was hit by several incidents and criticism over China's 'torch police' security staff.

Consequently the International Olympic Committee decided that international torch relays would be scrapped.

The London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer nomination programme launches today at 11am when full details of the LOCOG Torchbearer programme and how to nominate potential Torchbearers will be released.

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