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Shropshire communities to welcome Olympic Flame (7th November 2011)

Shropshire communities to welcome Olympic Flame

A total of 11 Shropshire communities will welcome the Olympic Flame next May (2012) as it makes its mammoth journey from Greece to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The torch, to be carried by a number of inspirational Torchbearers, will pass through the communities of Ludlow, Clee Hill and Cleobury Mortimer on Thursday 24 May 2012 and Oswestry, Pant, Llanymynech, Shrewsbury, Cressage, Much Wenlock, Benthall and Broseley on Wednesday 30 May 2012.  This will give local people a once in a lifetime chance to welcome the Olympic Flame, share in the excitement of the Relay and celebrate the fantastic achievements of the Torchbearers.

There will be a special welcome in the town of Much Wenlock, where Doctor William Penny Brookes founded the Wenlock Olympian Games in 1850 and inspired the revival of the modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.  The annual Games continue to be held in the town to this day.  The link has been recognised by the London 2012 Olympics as the Games’ official mascot is called Wenlock.

The 11 Shropshire communities feature in a list of over 1,000 villages, towns and cities announced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) through which the Olympic Flame will be carried by Torchbearers during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, which is presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.

Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for active and healthy lifestyles, said:

“It is a great honour that 11 of our communities will be able to give a big welcome to the Olympic Flame.  I am especially pleased that the torch will be passing through my home town of Oswestry as a starting point on its journey around the county on 30 May.

“I’m also excited that this fantastic opportunity will help showcase our beautiful county to the world, especially as Much Wenlock has such an important connection to the modern Olympics and the torch was designed by a former Shropshire art and design student.

“By passing through Shropshire the flame will offer everyone a chance to celebrate and take part in the countdown to the biggest cultural festival to happen in the UK for years.

“We hope that everyone who wants to will be able to take to the streets to wave their flags as the Torch Relay runs through Shropshire on its journey to London.”

Milner Whiteman, Shropshire Councillor for Much Wenlock, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the Torch is coming through Much Wenlock and Benthall and calling in at the home town of Dr William Penny Brookes who inspired the re-birth of the Modern Olympic Games.”

Shropshire Council’s community arts and festivals team can provide support to help communities put on their own local Torch Relay celebrations on 24 May and 30 May 2012. Community groups, town councils, parish councils, schools and individuals are encouraged to get in touch with the team by emailing their thoughts and ideas to arts.service@shropshire.gov.uk.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said:

"We are thrilled to confirm that Shropshire will act as a host location for the Olympic Flame, extending an invitation to people in the county to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay during its journey around the UK. 

“This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across Shropshire to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational Torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”

A number of community celebration activities will take place during and after the Torch has passed through, such as displays, performance or sports activities.  People should watch out for further information in the run up to May 2012.

Pictured from left to right are Milner Whiteman, Shropshire Councillor for Much Wenlock, Steve Charmley, Cabinet member for active and healthy lifestyles, Keith Barrow, leader and Mike Owen, Cabinet member for culture.