1948 Olympic Torch returns to King’s Lynn after tour of West Norfolk

It was carried through the Sandringham Estate, led a carnival parade through Downham Market and travelled through 80 town and villages around West Norfolk.

The 170-mile Olympic Torch relay around West Norfolk came to an end when the 1948 Torch returned to Lynnsport today.

Some 170 torchbearers on foot and cycle carried the torch over the four-day event, which was organised by the West Norfolk Sports Council and raised money for The Stroke Association.

The torchbearers, who ranged in age from 14 to 98, were nominated by their local communities.

Downham Market sports co-ordinator Frances Rayner carried the torch from Walpole Cross Keys to Terrington St Clement this afternoon.

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'It is fantastic that so many people have been able to get a feel of what it is like to be an Olympic torchbearer,' she said.

'From what I've seen and been told, the crowds along the route have been amazing and the torchbearers have said they have had a real sense of pride in carrying it.

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'I feel like we have all taken part in something very special. It has brought together communities across West Norfolk and got everyone out and about.'

Referring to event organiser Paul Brandon, she added: 'I think a huge thanks has to go to Paul for the fantastic effort he has put into pulling this whole thing together.

'He has done an amazing job to give us all an opportunity to carry an Olympic torch during an Olympic year – something only a handful of people can say they have done.'

West Norfolk councillor Gary McGuinness ran the penultimate leg across his ward from West to South Lynn before handing over the torch on Wisbech Road to be carried to Lynnsport.

He said: 'The way it has been organised has enabled a lot of people to carry the torch and has given communities across the borough the chance to see it going through their town or village.

'I haven't seen this kind of event happening in other parts of the country – apart from the official Olympic Flame – so it goes to show how organised West Norfolk is.'

He added: 'It's a great feeling to be part of this. It has brought something very worthwhile to the area as well as raising money for a worthwhile cause at the same time.'

Olympian Paul Evans and Ray Harding, chief executive of West Norfolk council, started the 1948 Torch relay after leaving Lynnsport at 9.15am on Saturday.

The pair were sent on their way by West Norfolk mayor Geoffrey Wareham after completing a lap around Lynnsport's running track with Charlie Pyatt who had won a competition to run with the torch.

Mr Evans and Mr Harding then handed the torch over to EDP reporter David Blackmore and West Norfolk Council cabinet member Elizabeth Nockolds in North Wootton and they carried it to Castle Rising.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Evans, who ran the 10,000m final at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said: 'I think this torch relay will put us in the mood for the Olympics. Hopefully it'll also inspire young people to get out there and get fit.'

After leaving Castle Rising, the torch made its way to Dersingham, Ingoldisthorpe, Snettisham, Heacham, Hunstanton, Sedgeford and Docking before finishing at 4pm in Burnham Market.

On Sunday the torch went through the Rudhams, the Massinghams, Marham and Boughton before finishing in Stoke Ferry.

The torch was then carried through Methwold, Feltwell, Southery, Hilgay and Denver on Monday before arriving in Downham Market to lead the annual carnival parade through the town at 1pm and ended the day in Upwell.

Torchbearers left Upwell at 9.30am today and carried the torch through Elm, Terrington St John, the Walpoles, Clenchwarton and West Lynn before arriving back at Lynnsport at 4pm.

After the torch arrived at Lynnsport, there was a special reception for the 170 torchbearers at the King's Lynn leisure centre.

The torchbearers were presented with medals by West Norfolk mayor Geoffrey Wareham in front of their family and friends. They later enjoyed a display by Alison's Street Dance Club and music from the Delta Pilots.

The Stoke Association supported the relay throughout and invited people to take part in sponsored events over the extended holiday weekend.

It is hoped the events, including today's ceremony at Lynnsport, will raise thousands of pounds for the Stroke Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Stroke Association.

Look out for the next edition of London Calling, a free monthly guide to the Games, which will appear in the EDP on Tuesday, June 26.

To see previous Olympic-related stories click on the London Calling logo at the top of this page.

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