It’s almost here... just one more day until Torch arrives

THERE is just one day to go before the iconic Olympic flame arrives in Morpeth.

The Northumberland Olympic Torch Relay is scheduled to reach the town tomorrow when the flame will be carried through the centre for about 15 minutes.

Five torchbearers will take turns to parade it through the area, beginning at the bottom of Whorral Bank at 10.34am.

The route will then follow Howard Terrace and Copper Chare to Newgate Street. It will be taken down the road to Bridge Street and on to Telford Bridge, proceeding along Castle Square and Castle Bank, and ending at the Mafeking Park roundabout at 10.48am.

The procession will take the form of a 44-vehicle convoy, including an advance party of sponsors’ vehicles from Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung, which will be used to distribute free keepsakes to onlookers, announce the torchbearers and build up the atmosphere.

There will also be support vehicles from the Metropolitan Police and Northumbria Police, as well as transport for national media.

Morpeth Pipe Band will be providing entertainment ahead of the convoy.

Northumberland Torch Relay banners have been erected to mark out the route and thousands of people are expected to turn up to see the Torch, including children from local schools and pupils bused in from surrounding areas.

Spectators are advised to reach their chosen viewing spot at least 30 minutes before the relay is scheduled to begin and to walk into town, rather than drive, wherever possible.

While the Torch can be viewed at any point along the route, it is likely to be better to stand on the left side of the road.

Drivers are advised that Bridge Street will be closed from 9am to ensure the safety of young spectators and will re-open around 11.30am. Diversions will be in place.

The rest of the route will be covered by rolling road closures as the Torch passes through.

Some disruption and congestion is expected as crowds make their way to the town so those wishing to view the Torch procession should allow plenty of time to reach their destination.

People wishing to go about their normal daily business will also have to plan ahead and leave extra time for journeys, or find alternative routes.

Parking will be limited in Morpeth, especially as some spaces near the Riverside Leisure Centre will be reserved for coaches to transport the schoolchildren.

A website has been set up by Northumberland County Council to provide up-to-date information about the progress of the Torch, maps of routes and details of road closures. It can be found by logging on to www.northumberland.gov.uk and following the Olympic link on the homepage.

The authority will also use social media and is planning to use Twitter to report the Torch’s progress through Northumberland. Anyone watching the relay is invited to tweet a message of support as the Torch passes.

Simply add the hashtag #NlandTorch to messages and the council will re-tweet it to all of its followers @EventsNE

People can also send messages to the council’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/northumberlandevents

The Torch is due to arrive in the county in Berwick today at 4.33pm. It will then travel to Bamburgh and Alnwick, where there will be an evening celebration to mark its overnight stay.

Tomorrow it will leave Alnwick at 7.28am, visiting Hipsburn, Warkworth, Amble, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Ashington, Guide Post, Morpeth, Hartford, Bedlington and Blyth.

On Saturday, it will be paraded in Prudhoe at 1.57pm, moving on to Stocksfield, Hexham and Riding Mill.

An Olympic Torch Live programme will be broadcast by BBC One North East and Cumbria tomorrow from 7pm.