· Olympic Flame to be welcomed to London at HM Tower of London
· Dame Kelly Holmes to carry Flame around the ramparts
· Londoners advised to stay local for the Torch Relay and plan ahead at GetAheadoftheGames.com
Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets and General the Lord Dannatt, Constable of the Tower of London will host a special welcome event at HM Tower of London to mark the Flame’s arrival.
Having visited over 1,000 communities around the UK and celebrated the achievements of over 7,000 Torchbearers, the Olympic Torch Relay – presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung - will see the Flame carried by 982 Torchbearers around 200 miles of the capital’s streets, taking in landmarks, community spaces and places to showcase London and Londoners to the world.
Dame Kelly Holmes, who won the 800m and 1500m gold medals in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be the first Torchbearer in the capital in recognition of her success as athlete, her sports coaching and mentoring programmes and her involvement in London’s bid to host the Games. Dame Kelly who also competed in the 1996 Atlanta and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, is set to carry the Olympic Flame from Tower Wharf up on to the ramparts of the Tower of London where she will hand the Flame on to Abul Kasam, 30, a resident of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Abul who was selected as a Torchbearer through the LOCOG public nomination campaign for his voluntary work in the borough of Tower Hamlets will carry the Flame into the reception for invited guests at the Jewel House. The Flame will then take part in the Tower’s ancient Ceremony of the Keys where it will be taken to the Queen’s House by the Constable of The Tower of London for safe keeping overnight.
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: ‘With the eyes of the world on London we welcome the Olympic Flame to the capital this evening in spectacular style. The week ahead will see hundreds of inspiring people enjoying their moment to shine as they carry the Flame through the streets of every London Borough as the final countdown to the London 2012 Games begins.’
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said: ‘The eyes of the entire world will be on London as the torch enters the final stage of its fantastic journey around the UK. Its relay round London will be an incredible advert for our capital and our country.’
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: ‘The breathtaking arrival of the Olympic Flame heralds the final countdown to what will be the greatest games, in the greatest city on earth during what is truly a summer like no other. The world's finest athletes are now just days from displaying their staggering talent to the world. But first millions of Londoners will bask in the glow of the Flame as the Torch Relay traverses every corner of our city in a week long carnival that will thrill all who see it.’
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: ‘It is great to be the first borough to welcome the Olympic Flame into London. The Olympic Torch Relay marks the beginning of the last week to go until the Olympic Games and I am excited to see it make its way through Tower Hamlets tomorrow.’
Encompassing 1,000 years of history, from 1078 to the modern day, HM Tower of London is renowned as the gateway to London and was the perfect location to welcome the Flame to London. As London’s most iconic fortress and home to the Crown Jewels, the Tower offers a unique setting for the Flame to stay before the London leg of the Torch Relay.
General the Lord Richard Dannatt, Constable of the Tower of London, said: ‘It is a privilege to host the London 2012 Olympic Flame ahead of the London stage of the Torch Relay. To involve the Olympic Flame in our ancient Ceremony of the Keys is an extraordinary honour and is an important part of the Tower’s 1000 year history.’
The Olympic Flame was delivered in spectacular fashion. Two Royal Navy Sea King helicopters from CHF took part in the event. The first hovered at 60ft above Tower Wharf to allow four marines – Corporal Dan Silman, and Marines Tom Petty, Dave Nash and Chris Marshall – to fast rope down to the cobbled walkway to mark the area for the abseil. The second helicopter then hovered at 180ft and Marine Martyn Williams abseiled to the ground, bearing the Olympic Flame in a lantern strapped securely to him.
Commanding Officer of CHF’s Mobile Air Operations Team, Lieutenant Commander Jake Wilkinson, said: ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience which all members of the Royal Navy’s Commando Helicopter Force and the Royal Marines Commandos are justifiably proud to have been part of. My teams have performed impeccably, demonstrating just some of the roles we undertake for real on the frontline and how we remain cool, calm and collected in the face of immense pressure to get the job done. I couldn’t be more proud of our role with the Olympic Flame.’
Further highlights of the London leg of the Torch Relay are confirmed this evening:
Saturday 21 July – Gymnast Nadia Comaneci and former basketball player John Amaechi to take the Olympic Flame to the roof of the North Greenwich Arena. The arena is the venue for the London 2012 gymnastics events and basketball finals.
Fabrice Muamba, will be the final Torchbearer onto the Evening Celebration stage in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Fabrice's name became known around the world when he suffered a heart attack in front of thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers while playing for Bolton at Spurs in an FA Cup match. Fab was 'dead' for 78 minutes but was saved by a team of doctors who performed CPR on the pitch and in the ambulance on the way to hospital. He woke in the London Chest Hospital three days later and his remarkable story of recovery became read across the globe. Fab went to school in Waltham Forest where he discovered that he was a superb footballer, and ended up going for a trial with Arsenal as a youngster. He eventually signed professional forms with the Gunners and from there, he went to Birmingham City and then onto Bolton Wanderers. Fabrice has also represented England U-21 33 times.
Sunday 22 July – Chelsey Grote, 12, from Dagenham will carry the Flame around the Athletics Track at the Mayesbrook Park Training Centre which is a dedicated Training Centre for competitors in the 2012 Games. Mayesbrook hosts training for Athletics (throwing and jumping disciplines) at its outdoor facilities and Handball on its indoor courts. Chelsey was selected through the Get Set programme for being a role model at her school.
Monday 23 July – Internationally acclaimed actor Sir Patrick Stewart, known for his Shakespearean stage work and leading roles in contemporary film and television is set to carry the Flame into the lunch stop at St. Andrew’s School, Croydon where he has lived over the years.
Tuesday 24 July – The Olympic Flame will surprise commuters on a morning train where it will be carried by a London Underground staff member. Further details to be released next week.
Wednesday 25 July – Diana Gould, who at 100 years of age is oldest female Torchbearer in the London 2012 Torch Relay, will meet Mayor Boris Johnson as she carries the Flame into the lunchtime stop at Middlesex University. Diana who has always led an active life was selected through the Lloyds TSB programme for running popular exercise classes in the retirement flats where she now lives.
Thursday 26 July – Chelsea Pensioner Jim Anderson, 76, selected through the LOCOG campaign will carry the Flame at the Chelsea Hospital where fellow residents, resplendent in their scarlet coats will form a guard of honour for him. Jim was selected for being a wonderful ambassador for the Royal Hospital and, as well as this, he is still a regular marathon and 10k runner.
Each day’s celebrations will conclude with an evening celebration that features a variety of entertainment staged by the three Presenting Partners of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay - Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung and the host boroughs of Waltham Forest (Saturday 21 July), Bexley (Sunday 22 July), Wandsworth (Monday 23 July), Ealing (Tuesday 24 July) and Haringey (Wednesday 25 July). On the evening of Thursday 26 July, Coca-Cola is presenting the final evening celebration of the Torch Relay with an extended show at Hyde Park, Westminster.
Given the huge and enthusiastic crowds that have followed the Olympic Torch Relay on its journey around the UK – an estimated 10.25 million people have cheered on the Torchbearers to date - LOCOG and Transport for London (TfL) advise that the coming week is expected to be exceptionally busy. Very large crowds are expected to line the London route and, alongside a number of road closures as the Olympic Flame visits all 33 London Boroughs from Saturday 21 to Friday 27 July, this will have an impact on traffic and transport networks in local areas.
As a result, at certain times and in certain places, London’s roads and public transport networks are expected to be much busier than usual. LOCOG and TfL advise Londoners that, if possible, it would be best to stay local and try to view the Flame when it passes through the area nearest to home or place of work. For route information please visit www.london2012.com/torch-relay. People will also be able to watch the arrival of the Flame live on the BBC.
On Thursday 26 and Friday 27 July in particular, roads in central London will be exceptionally busy and there will be a large number of road closures necessary along the route. On 27 Friday July, those without a ticket for the Opening Ceremony or another event in the Stratford area are advised to avoid the area from 3.00pm. TfL has already advised motorists that they should avoid driving in central London, around the Olympic Route Network and Games venues.
For anyone travelling in London the advice is to check out the Torch Relay route and plan ahead. If travelling to an area where the Torch is passing through, the advice is to leave plenty of time for journeys and take public transport where possible. See www.GetAheadoftheGames.com for all the tools and information to plan journeys.
For further information please contact the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100 or visit the website at www.london2012.com. Find out the latest from London 2012 HQ on our blog http://blog.london2012.com or follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/london2012
Notes to editors:
About the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF)
CHF helicopters carry Royal Marines anywhere in the world and have been working on the frontline rapidly transferring vital troops, supplies and equipment to, often very remote, areas where they are required.
Both abseiling and fast-roping are invaluable skills used during frontline operations to effectively and accurately allow troops to reach the ground, regardless of whether the helicopter can land. These skills were first devised to penetrate the dense rainforest canopies of Borneo in the 1960s, and it is as a result of this that these aircrew are often known as ‘Junglies’.
Each day two short packages of broadcast footage will be made available. The packages will be available via the Footage library – accessible from the Media Centre on london2012.com and direct from this link http://footagelibrary.london2012.com. Media will need to register for access in advance. Registration is free.
The broadcast of the Olympic Torch Relay is provided for Editorial Use Only. There can be no commercial association, no third party association and no commercial/ad superimposition on the video footage, unless the prior written consent of the IOC is acquired.
About the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners:
As the longest standing Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will be using its heritage and experience to spread excitement across the UK ahead of London 2012. Coca-Cola's national nomination campaign - Future Flames – has focused on finding inspirational young people from across the country to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. This summer Coca-Cola will celebrate these Future Flames: young people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and community and the environment; to spread happiness in their local communities. Find out more at: www.coca-cola.co.uk/olympic-games
As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB will be taking the inspiration and excitement of the Olympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK. As part of Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland will be the National Presenting Partner in Scotland. We are creating as many opportunities as possible for communities the length and breadth of the UK to get involved as the Flame travels past their front doors.
Lloyds Banking Group is Britain’s biggest corporate investor in UK communities and in 2011 invested £85 million and as part of the Group’s Community Investment Programme, we’ve launched the Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund to give back to the communities in which we operate and pass through on our journey with the Olympic Flame. We’re inviting everyone to visit the Lloyds TSB stand at each Evening Celebration to vote for a community project in their area that inspires and supports young people. By voting at the Evening Celebration members of the public will automatically enter a draw to win four tickets to London 2012. The two projects that receive the most votes at each locality will each win a £5,000 grant from Lloyds Banking Group. At the Lloyds TSB site members of the public will also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the Olympic Torch, meet Lloyds TSB Local Heroes – the future stars of Team GB and ParalympicsGB – and get up close to our Flame Followers. To find out how you can join in the celebrations with Lloyds TSB (in your community please visit www.lloydstsb.com/london2012
As a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Samsung aims to encourage everyone to be part of the greatest show on Earth to make London 2012 ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games.’ We aspire to offer new and memorable experiences for everyone around the world through our own innovative and smart wireless technology. Samsung is providing 1,360 Torchbearers, who have “gone the extra mile” by contributing to the local communities, through its worldwide public nomination campaign. In total over 25,000 nominations were received. Samsung will support towns and cities to celebrate the exciting moment of the Torch Relay and help showcase Great Britain’s cultural landmarks to provide a more enjoyable experience to everyone. The evening celebrations that will be staged by Samsung in 66 towns and cities throughout the Olympic Flame’s journey across the UK, will allow Samsung to entertain the community they are visiting. The Samsung caravan, complete with LED screen on the side showcasing runners and goodwill messages, will follow the Torchbearers around the UK cheering up everyone to celebrate the Torch Relay with music and interaction with local communities. It is Samsung’s ambition that London 2012 will be an event that reaches and involves more people than on any other Olympic Games occasion. To learn more about Samsung’s London 2012 Olympic programme, please visit www.samsung.com/london2012
The BBC will be providing extensive coverage of the Torch Relay on television, radio and online. This will include special Breakfast shows on every BBC local radio station, and extended live coverage of an evening celebration event in every Nation and English Region. Full details of the coverage will be at bbc.co.uk/2012.
The Supporters of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay are:
Worldwide Olympic Partners Procter and Gamble and Visa, Tier One Partners adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT and EDF, Tier Three Providers Aggreko, Holiday Inn and NATURE VALLEY.
London 2012 Games partners:
The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow Chemical Company, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.
LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS.
There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.