Walsall has been chosen to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay on Saturday June 30, 2012, giving residents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to welcome the Olympic Flame to the borough. And Bloxwich is the first landmark on the route, which has been revealed in detail for the first time today!
Thousands of people are expected to line the streets and celebrate as local torchbearers proudly take part in the relay. Walsall Council and partners are planning a number of events to mark the memorable historic occasion and residents, local schools, organisations and local businesses will be encouraged to get involved in the celebrations.
The torch convoy will enter the borough on the A34 Stafford Road to the north of Bloxwich at around 11.58am on Saturday 30 June 2012. The torch follows the A34 into and through the centre of Bloxwich along High Street, then diverting via Somerfield Road and Green Lane (missing out Bloxwich Road and central Leamore) towards Walsall town centre, passing the communities of Leamore and Birchills. The convoy will then turn left at Walsall police station and travel on the ring road before making a right turn onto Lichfield Street and heading towards the Council House.
The torch convoy will progress to Park Street and Gallery Square via Bridge Street and The Bridge and will then progress through the Pleck, Alumwell and Birchills areas on the Wolverhampton Road and on through Bentley towards Willenhall on Wolverhampton Road West. The torch progresses through New Road in Willenhall town centre, then out to Wolverhampton via Somerford Place and the Portobello island at around 2.50pm.
Walsall Council has set up a dedicated website, www.walsall2012.co.uk, where people can access the latest information and find out how they can get involved. Residents living in and around Walsall can find out when it will be travelling along their nearest high street or past their local shop.
One confirmed torchbearer is 21-year-old Zakia Begum, from Collins Street in Walsall who suffers from muscular dystrophy and was nominated by one of her carers.
Zakia said today: “I am so excited to be one of the torchbearers for the Olympics, it will be one of the proudest moments of my life. I cried tears of happiness when I found out,” she added.
Councillor Anthony Harris, cabinet member for leisure and culture at Walsall Council, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for residents and members of the surrounding communities within the Walsall borough to see the Olympic Flame and witness the spectacle of the Olympic Torch Relay.
“Today’s announcement detailing the exact route of the Olympic Torch really brings the route to life and will encourage people to get involved by lining the streets. I would encourage people from all across Walsall, not just those who live along the route, to join in what promises to be a huge party for the whole borough.”
The streets along the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, can be viewed in full at www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG added: ‘Today we bring the Olympic Torch Relay to life. The Flame symbolises the Olympic spirit and its journey around the UK will bring the excitement of the Games to our streets. Now the people know the route the Olympic Flame will be carried along and the Torchbearers for their community, they can start planning how they might celebrate and make it Walsall’s moment to shine.’
An average of 115 Torchbearers a day will carry the Olympic Flame during its 8,000 mile journey around the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The Torchbearers confirmed to carry the Flame in Walsall include those that were successful through the public nomination processes run by LOCOG and the Presenting Partners, Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. LOCOG has endeavoured to slot all community Torchbearers within an hour of their nomination address so family and friends can cheer them on. Each Torchbearer will wear a white and gold uniform designed by Adidas.
LOCOG has worked closely with representatives from a number of sectors in each Nation and Region of the UK to devise the route and is taking the Olympic Flame to within ten miles of over 95% of the population.
Schools across the UK can now access free learning resources linked to the Olympic Torch Relay through Get Set (www.london2012.com/getset), the official London 2012 education programme.
Walsall Council would like to hear from you if you have any ideas about how your community can celebrate the Olympic Torch passing through the borough. Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org