Huge crowds turn out to cheer Olympic Flame

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The Cotswold Blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other Cotswold related information.

Huge crowds turn out to cheer Olympic Flame

Around 13,000 people turned out in Woodstock and Blenheim Palace on the afternoon of 9 July to share in the excitement of welcoming the Olympic Flame.

Entertainment and activities by local groups added to a party atmosphere before the relay started. In Woodstock local bands played and in Blenheim Palace many people joined in the displays and activities put on by schools, sports clubs and disability groups.

The church bells rang as the crowds cheered, clapped and waved flags when Clive Stone from Eynsham carried the Torch into the centre of Woodstock. Here he was greeted by the Rt Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister and MP for Witney before passing the Flame across to Roland Read.

Once inside the Palace grounds, Graham Warland, the next Torchbearer, ran in front of the beautiful backdrop of Blenheim Palace, a scene often called the 'Finest View in England'.

Thousands of excited flag-waving school children greeted 18 year old Juliet Sparrow as she carried the Torch into the Great Court, at the front of Blenheim Palace. Some of the children had created Olympic-inspired banners and they were standing on the Palace steps holding them up for the world to see.

Inside the Great Court Juliet Sparrow (photographed right) was met by the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. His Grace, the 11th Duke of Marlborough welcomed her saying, We are honoured and delighted that the Olympic Torch Relay has come to Blenheim Palace today. I am sure that this historic event will be long remembered by all present, and I am especially pleased that there are over 3,000 children here today.

We wish all the runners a safe journey and we all hope that the Olympic Games will be very enjoyable and successful.

Cllr Derek Cotterill, the Chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council and Cllr Brian Yoxall, Mayor of Woodstock also welcomed the Torch to Woodstock and West Oxfordshire.

On the Palace steps the Flame was handed over to Pat Pearce who left the Great Court holding the Torch up high whilst the crowds sang Land of Hope and Glory led by a brass band. Leslie Billinger was the final Torchbearer before the Flame left Woodstock and Blenheim Palace to resume its journey.

Cllr Richard Langridge, Cabinet Member for Leisure at West Oxfordshire District Council had been very involved in the preparations for the day. He said, It's thrilling to be here and see the Olympic flame carried by inspirational torchbearers and I'm incredibly proud of the fantastic welcome it's been given by West Oxfordshire residents. Both Woodstock and Blenheim Palace play an important role in attracting thousands of tourists to the Oxfordshire Cotswolds each year and today has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase our district for the world to see.

A lot of effort has gone into ensuring that this day has run so smoothly and I would like to thank officers from the local authorities, Blenheim Palace staff, the Police, schools and the local community groups who put on displays and entertainment. Its been a good example of communities and authorities coming together and working effectively.

Cllr Brian Yoxall, Mayor of Woodstock, said, It was an unforgettable day. Everyone appreciated it was a historic occasion for Woodstock and Blenheim and was determined to savour the moment. An added bonus was that the Prime Minister was present and engaging with as many people in the crowd as humanly possible.

Posted : 11/07/2012 11:32:48

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