Olympic Torch Relay route: Hethersett

Over the past three years, Hethersett has held more Olympic-themed events per head of population than any other village, town or city in the country - and its efforts will be rewarded when the Olympic flame pays a special off-route visit to the village.

The Olympic flame will arrive at Hethersett High School in a special lantern on Thursday, July 5 before the Olympic torch leaves Norwich and continues on its journey.

It is the only place in the country where the flame will make an off-route visit and will be the only time it enters the South Norfolk district.

To mark, the occasion, children from all four village schools are gearing up to welcome the lantern with a musical fanfare.

They will also be armed with flags representing all 205 nations taking part in the Olympic Games.

It is hoped the whole community will join in the early morning celebrations.

Shane Hull, chairman of Hethersett's Olympic committee, said: 'On behalf of the village, we are tremendously excited about this unique visit.

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'We sincerely hope that the whole village and people from surrounding areas will come out in force to see this historic event. We are very grateful and honoured by the visit.'

South Norfolk's councillor for Hethersett David Bills added: 'The flame coming to Hethersett reflects the incredible efforts of our community and in particular the Olympic Committee headed by Shane Hull - they all deserve a gold medal for their dedication and hard work.

'I am delighted because we are the only community in the country to have been selected for this honour and I know the flame visit will be a great success.'

Members of the public will be welcomed at Hethersett High School from 5.30am and are being asked to be ready on the school playing field by 6.10am.

The flame will arrive at the school gates of the Queens Road high school at about 6.21am. It will be led through the grounds by Mr Hull, headteacher Kerry Jordan and the school's head boy and head girl.

A fanfare will announce its arrival to spectators who will then get to see the flame as it is carried on stage. It will be paraded around the school field before it heads back to Norwich for the next leg of the torch relay.

Ms Jordan, headteacher at Hethersett High School and Science College, said: 'This is a special visit by the lantern to acknowledge the efforts the village has made to promote the Olympics and its core values over the last two years.

'As a school we are honoured to be chosen as the venue for this visit and look forward to welcoming members of the community.'

Meanwhile, youngsters from Hethersett High have produced the village's own Olympic torch which will celebrate the arrival of the flame on July 5.

The STEM (Science) After School Club, under the stewardship of teachers Mike Newell and Mick Nunn, started the project by challenging the pupils to create an original design which could not incorporate the Olympic Rings or associated symbols.

The high school then made a prototype of the torch from scale drawings and set about manufacture. They had help from the village blacksmith, Reggie Loveday, who sourced and manufactured the stem from stainless steel. The handle was turned at school and made from oak.

For health and safety reasons, it was decided that the torch would not be able to have a real flame, instead an innovative internal system gives the impression that the torch is lit by means of clever use of acrylics.

After the excitement of the Olympic Flame visit to Hethersett, the Hethersett torch will go on display in the village library.