Olympic Torch heads through Richmond
On day 67 of its 8000 mile journey, the Olympic Torch took its first trip through historic Richmond. Highlights of the journey included a stop off at Kew Gardens for a pose with the floral Olympic Rings. George Arnett was on the scene
Crammed streets, a bonkers bicycle and plenty of inflatable clappers contributed to the great party atmosphere in Richmond when it welcomed the Olympic Torch Relay on July 24.
Spectators started lining central Richmond’s streets hours before the torch entered the centre and plenty of Union Flags, Wenlocks and Mandevilles were in sight too.
Entering the borough from Kingston at approximately 9.50am, the torch went through Ham in the shadow of Richmond Park, through which the Olympic road cycling events will travel on July 27 and 28.
Indeed, a large group of cyclists was at the rear of the convoy for large parts of the Richmond leg.
“We’ll go and watch the cycling live, but we haven’t got any tickets” said Hugh Blake, 56, from Isleworth who was getting into the Olympic fever on Richmond’s George Street.
“I would have just liked tickets to the Opening Ceremony” added Elizabeth Rye, 64, also of Isleworth, who accompanied him.
One of the key moments of the Richmond stop was when 2011′s Junior US Open winner Oliver Golding, 18 carried the torch through Kew Gardens, to pose next to their 50m long set of Olympic Rings composed of flowers.
Oliver developed his skills on a tennis court in the back garden of his former home in Twickenham.
He said: “It was amazing to have my achievements recognized. I really enjoyed it.
“I think the Olympics is going to be great. Sadly, I won’t be competing but in 2010 I went to the youth winter Olympics in Singapore. I am hoping to compete in the senior Olympics next time”
Other torchbearers included Twickenham’s John Harding, 46, who has been an employee at Squire’s Garden Centres since 1981 and Keith Haworth, 64, who has been running leader at Kingston Running Club for 30 years.
This is only the Olympic Torch’s first stop in the borough. It will return again not once, but twice on July 27, the day of the opening ceremony. The torch will start in Hampton Court at 6.30am and will be led through the palace’s famous maze.
We’re hoping it won’t get lost, as by 7.30am the torch is set to board the Royal Barge Gloriana – built in Richmond and travel up the Thames towards Tower Bridge. It will pass through Teddington and Twickenham en route, before going under Richmond Bridge and Kew Bridge.
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Want to know what happened when the torch visited Kingston? Visit our sister site, the Kingston Magazine, to find out >