The Olympic Torch Relay has been hailed as an ’incredible success’ after attracting estimated crowds of 200,000 people to see it during its three days in Leeds.
The iconic symbol of the London 2012 Olympic Games left Leeds this morning to continue its nationwide journey after being met by huge crowds lining the streets on its way through the city and 25,000 people at the special city celebration event at Temple Newsam Estate.
The torch first arrived in Leeds on Tuesday, when the tone was set by an estimated crowd of 25,000 people lining the streets of Boston Spa, Wetherby and Harewood before it was given a special royal welcome by Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice at Harewood House.
The torch returned to the city on Sunday evening to be greeted by approximately 125,000 people on the streets of Headingley, Potternewton, Harehills and Richmond Hill as it made its way to Temple Newsam for the overnight celebration event hosted by Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Coca-Cola, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
The event featured live performances by Friendly Fires, Little Comets, Tribes and Diversity, with 13-year-old Aaron Bell from Halifax being given the honour of taking the flame onto the stage and lighting a special cauldron as part of the finale.
The celebration also contained an element showcasing the best Leeds talent, with rousing performances by local Leeds choirs, the award-winning Leeds Young Authors and a mass dance led by professional dancers on stage supported by volunteers in the crowd carrying out a routine choreographed by Phoenix Dance Theatre’s artistic director Sharon Watson specially for the event.
The torch restarted its journey this morning from the Cuthbert Brodrick-designed Leeds Town Hall before heading through the city centre via County Arcade, Leeds Bridge and the Royal Armouries before completing a lap of the running track at the John Charles Centre for Sport being cheered on by 2,000 local schoolchildren.
It then travelled on through Beeston and past Elland Road on to Morley where it left the city, being met along the way by large crowds continuing to line the route waiting to see it. All along its 17-mile journey through Leeds over the three days, over 300 volunteers also worked as Leeds Ambassadors to help liaise with the crowds at the roadside.
Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:
“The Olympic Torch coming through Leeds has been absolutely phenomenal, an incredible success and a historic three days for the city. The sheer size of the crowds to welcome it across the city has been overwhelming, with people of all ages and backgrounds coming together and making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime chance to see it which has been wonderful to see.
“None of us can remember anything like it in Leeds so a huge thank you to everyone who supported it and made it happen, and a special thanks to the 300 volunteers who gave up their time to do a great job as Leeds Ambassadors along the route. The event at Temple Newsam was a fantastic celebration for the torch and also it was great to see local Leeds performers showcasing their talents in front of such a big audience.
“The clear message from these three amazing days is that the Olympic spirit is very much alive in Leeds and now we cannot wait for the Games themselves to begin.”
For more information on how Leeds is getting involved in the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, visit www.leedsgold.co.uk
Notes to editors:
The Olympic Torch Relay is being produced by The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) along with Presenting Partners Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.
The Olympic Torch Relay is a 70-day tour of the UK, travelling 8,000 miles 12 hours a day with 66 overnight stops around the country en route to London on July 27 2012, where it will light the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium to officially declare the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. In total the Olympic Flame will be carried across the UK by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers each of whom will have a story of personal achievement and/or contribution to the local community.
For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472