Sporting clubs get ready for greatest show ever

MORPETH’S sporting clubs are brimming with excitement for the town’s big Olympic day.

And Morpeth Swimming Club is hoping that the crowds watching the Torch Relay today will chip in to help a group of teenagers with their expenses before and during the Games in London.

Nine members, who all attend King Edward VI School, have been doing their own fundraising activities since they were confirmed as Young Games Makers (YGMs) at the Aquatics Centre.

They will have been down to the capital at least six times before the Olympics start at the end of July, including for the British Swimming Championships, and combined with the costs while the swimming competition takes place, the total is set to be more than £10,000.

A helping hand is being provided by Morpeth’s Lions, Rotary, Soroptimist and Inner Wheel Clubs, who will be carrying out a street collection in aid of the group.

Girls’ Club Captain Miriam Inverarity, who lives in Stobhill, said: “It’s a great honour to represent Morpeth and Northumberland at the Games and having people from the county involved as volunteers makes them more relevant to the area.

“Everyone at the club is looking forward to the Torch Relay and it will give us YGMs a taste of the Olympic atmosphere. All the other members have given us a lot of support with our fundraising.

“We are getting more and more excited for the Games. The atmosphere was great during the British Championships, which gave us a chance to do the things we will be doing during the Olympics, and it will be even better next month.”

Club members are starting a major fundraiser on Saturday with Swim to London, where they will do lengths of the pool during an eight-day period to cover the 300 miles from Morpeth to the Olympic Park.

Olympic breaststroke medallist Nick Gillingham is among those coming to the Riverside Leisure Centre for its launch and disability swimmer Eleni Papadopoulos, British record holder for the 50m butterfly S10 category, will bring the Torch she will be carrying in Newcastle.

Morpeth Tennis Club chairman Pippa Hawes was also selected as an Olympic volunteer at the tennis event in Wimbledon. She will help to make sure the players have the things they need by their chair during their matches, such as drinks and towels.

Of the Torch Relay, she said: “We’re all very excited and looking forward to seeing the Torch come through Morpeth. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Morpeth Harriers are hoping that two of their athletes — Laura Weightman and Nick McCormick — will be taking part in the athletics event in the women’s 1500m and men’s 5000m respectively. Chairman Dave Swinburne said: “It’s great the Morpeth has been included on the Torch Relay route, especially as the town held its own Olympics. Many of our members will be there to cheer on the Torchbearers.”

Morpeth Hockey Club Chairman Martyn Bott said: “We are delighted that the Olympic Torch will be passing through Morpeth and its surrounding areas, where many of our members reside.

“This is a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed and there is a sense of anticipation the closer the flame is to Morpeth.”