Thousands of excited people turned out to get their own taste of the London 2012 spirit as the Olympic torch made its way through Bolton last night.
Olympic boxer and town treasure Amir Khan was the star of the show taking the flame for the last leg of its journey lighting the cauldron on stage in Queen’s Park.
Keith Warriner and his son Ben were excited at the unique opportunity to see the ancient flame arrive at the town hall in Victoria Square.
He said: “It’s exciting and a once in a lifetime opportunity so you have to come down and see it.
“I’m not sure how much he knows about what’s going on – he’s only 4 – but it could be a once in a lifetime thing for him too.
“He made the torch at nursery this morning.”
HANDMADE: Ben makes own Olympic Torch
The flame made its long-awaited arrival at the square shortly before 7pm to a specially composed orchestral piece from the Corus Brass Band.
Olympic swimming silver medallist Martyn Woodroffe had the honour of carrying the torch into the square to rapturous applause from the excited crowd.
Louise Holt, Project Officer for Bolton Council, was busy taking questions from excited onlookers, but took time out to talk to MM about the event.
She said: “We have been organising and setting this up for months now and to see so many people here today is great.
“We are hearing that there may be as many as 10,000 here in Victoria Square and another 12,000 over in Queen’s Park.
“We have the farewell ceremony tomorrow morning where we hope 2,012 children will turn out to wave the flame off on its way on its long journey.”
Seven-year-old Millie Simpson was among the children who waved farewell to the torch on its way out of Bolton.
Mum, Natalie, and the rest of the family waited for over two hours to watch the torch go through Victoria Square on Thursday evening.
She said: “We waited for a long time to see the torch, but it’s a once in a lifetime thing and at least it didn’t rain!”
Millie and her classmates from Bolton Parish Church Primary School arrived in the square at 5am to get ready for the event this morning.
“The kids are really excited, it should be a fun morning and the kids get a free breakfast after the torch leaves Bolton,” said Mrs Simpson.
Meanwhile, in Queen’s Park the Olympic flame concert was underway.
Crowds were treated to performances by The Wombats, former X-Factor star Laura White and Britain’s Got Talent’s Twist and Pulse.
TWIST & PULSE: Britain’s Got Talent stars join in Bolton Olympic Torch party
Home-grown dance troupe Sunshine Street Dancers also put on a live performance.
After much anticipation, torchbearer Amir Khan arrived, sprinting the length of Queen’s Park to rapturous applause alongside hundreds of children and adults.
Khan took to the stage with the compere announcing: “Bolton! This is your moment!”
Khan took the time to shake hands with everybody on stage, including Bolton’s Mayor, Guy Harkin, who commemorated 2012 as Bolton’s ‘Year of Sport’.
AMIR KING KHAN: Bolton boxer brings Torch to North West
Several children were also one stage, having been selected as The Children’s Promise, having been born on 20 December 2004 – 20/12 in the year it was announced that London would host the Olympics.
Khan proudly held the flame aloft before lighting the cauldron, where it would rest overnight before continuing its journey.
The torch will carried by 8,000 specially selected people as it journeys the length and breadth of the UK before arriving at the Olympic Park in August.