Coventry gives Torch massive welcome
Monday 2 July 2012
A crowd of around 20,000 packed into Coventry's War Memorial Park and many more lined the surrounding streets to welcome Day 44 of the Olympic torch to the city on Sunday 1 July for a special evening celebration event.
Teenager Debbie Horton, from Nuneaton, had the honour of carrying the torch - made in Coventry - the last yards before lighting the cauldron to massive cheers from the crowd which had been entertained by a stage show for three hours hours.
Councillor John Mutton, leader of the Coventry City Council, said the massive turnout underlined the interest in the city for all things 2012.
"The people who turned have made this city really proud and it is just fantastic to see the enthusiasm of everyone involved.
"This is something genuinely unique and something certainly we will not see again in my lifetime.
"We started planning for 2012 six years ago and who would have thought that we would be a host city.
"The whole of Coventry and Warwickshire is benefiting. Companies across the area have won contracts to the tune of £82 million on a whole host of 2012-related activities.
"This event is just the start of what will be an incredible six weeks in the city."
Debbie, who was nominated by her youth worker, said: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is certainly the coolest thing I have ever done in my life.
"I can't believe how many people are here. My parents and my boyfriend were in the crowd and I spotted them as I came into the park, which was great.
"I think it is important that young people have had opportunities to carry the torch. It is important that their views are hear as they are the future of the country."
The evening celebration featured a range of music, dance and artistic performances by local Coventry companies Talking Birds, with a Song for Phoenix and the Freeman Dance Gangsters who performed on stage in addition to Samsung's Twist and Pulse, Coca-cola-s Morning Parade, Lloyds TSB Flame followers and the London 2012 Children's Promise scheme.