Bring the Olympic torch to Suffolk, urge campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS are turning up the heat in their bid to bring the Olympic torch to Suffolk ahead of the 2012 Games.

Simon Tomlinson

CAMPAIGNERS are turning up the heat in their bid to bring the Olympic torch to Suffolk ahead of the 2012 Games.

Choose Suffolk and Suffolk County Council are encouraging residents to say where they believe the prestigious torch relay should visit in the county and why.

The campaign has been bolstered by tourism group Visit Britain, which has commissioned as one of its official images a picture of an athlete running through the historic streets of Lavenham.

The image is being used to highlight the wide range of places to stay or visit in the UK during the London Games.

Supporters are being asked to leave comments and upload photos of their favoured destination on the campaign's dedicated website at These will then be used to lobby the torch relay organiser.

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Alex Paul, tourism manager at Choose Suffolk, the trading name of the Suffolk Development Agency, said: “This is a chance for Suffolk to show the world just what it has to offer.

“There is a huge choice of destinations for the torch relay to visit in the county, from Lowestoft Ness to Newmarket races, and St Edmundsbury Cathedral to Sutton Hoo, Ipswich and Framlingham Castle.

“We firmly believe the torch relay demonstrates the real prospects that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring to Suffolk tourism, both prior to the games and in the years proceeding.”

The torch relay is regarded as an important part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, celebrating the spirit of the event by uniting sport and culture in the months leading up to the Opening Ceremony.

Lit in Olympia, the torch will be carried by bearers, selected through a ballot process, through communities across the UK. Shows, entertainment and concerts will mark its arrival in each area during its 60-day tour.

There will also be educational programmes for young people and the chance to take part as a volunteer.

Rosemary Clarke, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for sport, culture, diversity, health and wellbeing, said: “The torch relay is a really tangible way for local communities to get involved in the excitement and magic of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We hope that the work we are currently doing will hold us in good stead when the torch route is finally decided.”

“Lavenham is the perfect Suffolk village for the torch to pass through. It is how any stranger would visualize Suffolk, with its beamed houses and narrow streets.” Veronica Cowlin, Lavenham.

“I think the torch should pass through Suffolk, especially Pakenham, near Bury St Edmunds. To see two mills - one water-powered and one wind-powered - would really show what Suffolk and the UK is all about.” Julie White, Derby, UK.

“The torch should come to Suffolk because it of it's diverse arts culture, stunning heritage and beautiful countryside. I love Suffolk.” Joanne, Ipswich.

“I think the Olympic Torch should pass through Framlingham, a lovely market town with an amazing Tudor castle. The torch bearer could climb to the top of the battlements and do a circuit of the castle ramparts.” Brigit, Framlingham.

“Surely the torch should make a visit to Constable Country. I think it should be transported in a rowing boat along the River Stour.” Jim, East Bergholt.

Comments posted on the Visit Suffolk website.