Residents enjoy Olympic torch experience

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MORPETH residents relished the opportunity to see the Olympic torch at close quarters.

The five torchbearers were cheered throughout the mile-long route this morning as people braved the showers to show their support.

Among the contingent near Oldgate Bridge was John Deakin, who lives in Hepscott.

He said: “It was a bit wet, but despite that it was definitely worth coming out to see the torch.

“Having Jim Alder run the Bridge Street section was the right decision because he is our most famous runner.”

Morpeth town centre resident Janet Sanderson, who saw the first leg of the relay, said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us and we’re very excited.

“It’s a shame the weather wasn’t better but there’s no way it would have stopped us coming out.”

The Wednesday and Friday coffee morning group at Marks & Spencer were out in force along Howard Terrace and one of its members, Judith Brodie, said: “We’re here to support the torch relay and we’re going to give the runners a big cheer.

“It’s brilliant that the flame is coming through Morpeth and this will help to put it on the map.”

King Edward VI School pupil Charlotte Saddington mentioned it was great that people had turned out in big numbers despite the weather and Richard and Jean Donaldson both said they had “enjoyed a wonderful day”.

Another spectator on Howard Terrace, David Dickinson, said: “I’ve come down from Northbourne Avenue to see the torch. I didn’t want to miss it because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“When you see all the places that didn’t get the relay, it shows how lucky we are to get it coming through Morpeth.”

Morpeth Methodist Church gave people the chance to get a respite from the rain, with bacon butties and tea on offer. It also got into the spirit of the occasion by putting up flags and bunting.

Receptionist Lorrie Bronsema said: “It’s brilliant that the torch is going past our church and it’s good that Morpeth can celebrate people who have achieved many things or done a great deal for their community.”

Erica Condie of Seghill was there to support first leg runner David Taylor, chef at St Oswald’s Hospice, who has taken part in numerous fundraising activities for the charity.

“He was great with my dad when he stayed at St Oswald’s and he deserves to carry the torch for all the things he has done for the hospice over the years.

“David is a kind man who is very generous with his time and we were always coming to Morpeth to support him come rain, hail or shine.”

She was with her daughter Hannah, who will celebrate her 12th birthday at the Games in London as the family have tickets for the hockey and athletics events.

People could watch the relay live on their computer via the BBC website. Unfortunately, the picture went off when the flame was going down Newgate Street – the broadcaster said this was due to a lack of 3G coverage in that part of Morpeth.