Enthusiasm for London 2012 grows in Manchester as Olympic Torch relay details announced

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent 

Excitement is building in Greater Manchester following the announcement of the Olympic Torch relay route in 2012.

Torchbearers will be carrying the Olympic Flame through the region on June 23 and 24 – days 36 and 37 of the 70 day tour – which is visiting 1,000 locations nationwide. 

A city centre night time celebration will happen on Saturday 23, with the Torch moving on to the likes of Salford, Trafford and Moss Side on Sunday 24.

Tony Lloyd MP represents Manchester Central – Moss Side is part of his constituency.

He said: “It is only right and proper the flame is coming to areas like Moss Side – it means everyone is within striking distance of seeing it.” 

“The last home Games was in 1948 so it’s a real once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Games organisers Locog have said that 95% of the British population will be within an hour’s travelling time of the torch on the relay route.

Mr Lloyd continued: “The relay will be part of bringing the Olympics home to people in the North of England and make it clear they are for everyone, not just London.” 

“Young people may be inspired by these Games to try a new sport they haven’t tried before – it will give us chance to prove that Manchester can produce the gold medallists of the future,” he added.

Bury North MP David Nuttall also welcomed the news.

He said: “I hope as many residents as are able take the opportunity to witness this historic event.”

The Torch will be visiting four Stockport boroughs on June 24 – Hazel Grove, Heaton Chapel, Heaviley and Offerton. 

Stockport Council Leader Dave Goddard said: “This is brilliant news which will put the international spotlight on Stockport. I’m delighted that local people will have the chance to carry the torch through the borough, and be a part of the celebrations.” 

Mr Lloyd agreed with Councillor Goddard’s sentiments, saying that it was important people were recognised for their contributions to the community at all levels. 

Double Olympian swimmer James Goddard, and 2012 hopeful, trains at the successful Stockport Metro swimming club. 

He said: “I’m delighted that Stockport will be welcoming the Olympic Torch to the borough next year. It will be great to see everyone getting involved in the countdown and witness the building anticipation.”

Ashton-under-Lyne resident and mum of two Julie Richardson, 39, is excited by the prospect of seeing the iconic Olympic Torch in her hometown. 

She said: “I will definitely be taking my kids – they’re 3 and 7 – to see the torch.  I’ve always loved the Olympics and want my kids to experience it in their own country.” 

Nominations for being an Olympic torchbearer are being whittled down and the lucky 8,000 will be announced in December.

 The Olympic Torch in Manchester:

June 23: Lytham St Annes – Manchester

Lytham St Anne’s, Warton, Preston, Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Crawshawbooth, Reedsholme, Rawtenstall, Rochdale, Heywood, Bury, Whitefield, Prestwich, Higher Broughton, Cheetham Hill, Manchester

June 24:

Salford, Trafford, Moss Side, Rusholme, Longsight, Levenshulme, Stockport, Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Marsh, Huddersfield, Brighouse, Halifax, Bradford, Keighley, Skipton, Ilkley, Headingley, Potternewton, Harehills, Richmond Hill, Leeds

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