On day 43 of the Olympic Torch Relay (Saturday 30 June) the eyes of the world fell on Lichfield District, when Torchbearers carried the Olympic Flame through local streets.
It is estimated that around 25,000 people lined the streets of Lichfield City, 3,000 watched in Streethay and 3,000 gathered in Hopwas to welcome the Olympic Flame to the district. The torch arrived in the district on time, and was safely handed to Tamworth at 10.10am – four minutes ahead of schedule.
The people of Lichfield District along with plenty of visitors cheered the Torchbearers on from their vantage points lining streets, sitting on walls and looking out windows.
Of his experience carrying the Olympic Flame through Lichfield (along Tamworth Street, Conduit Street and Dam Street), Lichfield Torchbearer John May said: “I was so proud to carry the Torch through my local streets and overwhelmed with the response from the crowd. Everyone waved and cheered which was tremendous. I had lots of friends and relatives travel to Lichfield to share the experience with me. It was great to have their support and encouragement. It is certainly a day I will remember forever.”
The Olympic Flame started its journey through the district with a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum. It was then driven to Streethay, where it was carried by Torchbearers into the city of Lichfield. It travelled down local streets and past landmarks, including Market Square and Lichfield Cathedral, where over 3,000 people lined the historic Cathedral Close, including Roger Black MBE. The Flame then passed Beacon Park and down Bird Street, before being driven to Hopwas, where Torchbearers carried on their leg of the Olympic Torch Relay towards Tamworth.
Councillor Val Richards, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said: “We were so lucky with the weather, and we were delighted when the clouds broke and glorious sunshine fell on the city and district, in time for thousands of people to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity and see the Olympic Flame pass by. The atmosphere was brilliant and we’re delighted so many people are staying on in Lichfield City to enjoy the events to celebrate this historic day. Our thanks to the over 200 volunteers who helped to make sure the event ran smoothly and safely, and to all the organisations and groups that worked so hard to make this a day to remember.”
City festivities that took place today included a vintage car parade, a sports day for younger children, the Lichfield Dash featuring Roger Black MBE, Cars in the Park, music, comedy and drama on the Market headlined by Alvin Stardust and his band, a floating origami candlelit display on Minster Pool and much more.
Events that took place across the district, include the Armed Forces Day at the National Memorial Arboretum and a fun day at Streethay.
Thank you to everyone who came along to make this such a special day! Thanks too to the army of volunteers who helped to make it such a safe, well organised and memorable occasion – we couldn’t have done it without your help.