Photo gallery: Olympic flame passes through Norwich Cathedral close

Schoolchildren, families and clergy were among the throngs that gathered in Norwich's The Close this morning to see the Olympic torch against the stunning backdrop of the cathedral.

As the waiting crowds grew, the Norwich School band struck up a tune and created a party atmosphere.

Unlike some other areas of the route, this time there was no cavalcade of police motorcylists and various Olympic buses to proceed the flame.

The torchbearer, flanked by running security, entered St Ethleberts Gate just as the musicians started playing Soul Bossa Nova and was accompanied all down The Close by polite applause and cheering.

Pat Winter, 81, from Old Catton, came to see the torch with her friend Kath Adams, 82, and said: 'We wanted to be a part of it and experience the atmosphere as seeing it on the television isn't the same as being here.

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'When the 1948 Olympics was on I lived in Torquay and I did a bit in the closing ceremony for the sailing.'

The grandmother-of-two, who is going to see the synchronised swimming at London 2012, added: 'I was 17 at the time and I got a place through the Guides. It was fantastic. There were flags from every nation sailing and we had laurel wreaths that we put up on top of the flags.'

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Former Norwich School pupil Simon Bell and his wife Phoebe got up at 5am to bring their children Isadora, eight, Miles, five, and Ophelia, three, to see the torch relay.

The couple, who have just moved back from Hong Kong and are visiting the children's grandparents in Norfolk, said: 'It's amazing the torch came through as we were here on holiday. We were so excited and we got up at five o'clock and headed out here.'

Mr Bell added: 'I think the children understand it's a once in a lifetime thing and we have got tickets for the men's hockey final on August 11 so this has been a fantastic taster of the excitement to come. After seeing the torch on the television so many times in different places it's finally nice to see it in the flesh and it's great to see all the people came out in The Close.'

Mrs Bell said: 'We have been explaining to children the gravity and the importance of the tournament and how it brings the countries of the world together once every four years. Certainly in our lifetime this will be the only time it will be in Great Britain and it's great the whole country can share in the fun.'

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