Northumberland Olympic Torch Relay is revealed

MORE details have been released of Northumberland’s Olympic celebrations — including the torch’s route through Morpeth.

The London 2012 Organising Committee has today announced the detailed route of the iconic flame’s journey from the Scottish Borders through Northumberland over three days from Thursday, June 14.

And it is scheduled to come to Morpeth on Friday, June 15.

The torch will be accompanied by a 33 vehicle convoy, including an advance party of sponsors’ vehicles from Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, which will proclaim its arrival with the distribution of keepsake giveaways and announcements of the torch bearers.

The flame itself will follow five or ten minutes behind, protected by officers from the Metropolitan Police.

It will arrive at Whorral Bank in a closed vehicle at 10.34am when it will be collected by a torch bearer and taken along Howard Road and Copper Chare to Newgate Street.

It will then progress down the street towards Morpeth Town Hall, turning onto Bridge Street and making its way to Telford Bridge.

As it passes Castle Square and Carlisle Park pupils from Morpeth First School are expected to join the celebrations.

The procession will end at Mafeking Park roundabout at 10.48am.

Special lamppost banners, bearing the Northumberland Torch Relay logo, will be erected about three weeks before the torch’s arrival to show its route.

And a rolling roadblock will be in place on the day of the event.

Morpeth Town Council will be organising a celebration around the relay.

Northumberland County Council Cultural Development Manager Nigel Walsh, who is leading the local Olympic programme, said: “We have four key aims.

“The torch relay route will show the world our distinctive assets. It will take in some of our most beautiful iconic landmarks, but it will also tell stories about communities.

“We hope it will increase and sustain participation in sport and culture and we hope to encourage young people to gain skills for life.

“We are also looking to raise the profile of the county and for our holiday guide this year the theme is based around the Olympics.”

The torch will enter Northumberland from the Border village of Foulden and travel on for processions in Berwick and Bamburgh, before moving on for an overnight stay in Alnwick, where there will be an evening celebration.

A high profile torch bearer is expected to carry it onto the stage, kicking off a two-hour show, featuring five, as yet unannounced, acts and video presentations.

About 10,000 tickets will be available for the event, which will be provided free through online applications on a first come, first served basis. Details of how to apply will be announced in April, with tickets available in May, and those who do not have Internet access at home will be able to apply via libraries and council contact centres.

On Day 2 of the county’s relay the torch will leave Alnwick at about 7.30am after a Northumberland Big Breakfast.

It will travel through Hipsburn, Warkworth, Amble, Ashington, Newbiggin By The Sea, Stakeford, Guide Post, Morpeth, Hartford, Bedlington and Blyth.

The final day will take in Prudhoe, Stocksfield, Hexham and Riding Mill.

Organisers are keen for as many communities as possible to take part in the event and celebrations are planned across the county.

Project Manager Zoe Bottrell, of Culture Creative, said: “We should feel extremely proud as a county of the amount of contact we have with the torch — three days. We should feel proud that we can take the torch to many rural communities.

“It is here for one of the longest periods of time of any county in the country.

“The majority of communities are planning celebrations and we are planning to work with the schools on-route and off-route. For schools off-route we will make provision for them to come to an on-route area and for them to have a space alongside the route in the most safe and appropriate manner. We are also looking to work with them to get them involved in the Northumberland evening celebration.”

Around 160 schools in the county have registered for the Get Set network to demonstrate their commitment to the Games, and 12 Northumberland businesses have won contracts connected to them.

The Northumberland Torch Relay will cover around 136 miles, with torchbearers running about 300m each.

Members of the public are advised that when the torch is not in procession along a designated route it will be in a covered vehicle and will not be on show.