Witnesham: Village torch relay now has 100 runners

ONE hundred people have now signed up to take part in an alternative Olympic Torch Relay around six Mid Suffolk villages.

As the official Olympic Torch is carried through the towns of Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket on Saturday July 7, a rather different kind of relay will be starting and finishing in the village of Witnesham.

The community run begins at 12noon at the Barley Mow pub and takes in stops at pubs and other venues in Westerfield, Tuddenham, Swilland, Otley and Ashbocking.

It was organised after villagers were left disappointed that the official relay would not be passing close by at any point during the 70-day national relay.

The runners, who will be carrying a genuine Olympic Torch leant to organisers by an official relay runner, have been told to attend an information evening a week on Monday to prepare for the big day.

One of the organisers, Stephen Henley, 63, from Witnesham, said: “We are now just two weeks away from our run and have 100 runners signed up for the relay.

“The most important bit of news is for all the runners to meet at the Barley Mow on Monday, July 2 at 7pm. They will be given a race vest and their own starting point together with a chat on health and safety issues.

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“Their vests and medals and photo with the torch will all be provided by us, the organisers. We understand as well as the Barley Mow other pubs are organising their own celebration in the evening, with live music and entertainment.”

The route will be from the Barley Mow to the Crockery Barns in Ashbocking, then to the White Hart at Otley, down to the Swilland Moon and Mushroom, back past the Barley Mow to the Fountain at Tuddenham, on to the Westerfield Railway and the Swan down to the Fynn Valley golf course and finally back to the Barley Mow.

Each runner will cover a 300-metre stretch and the distance will be 14.73 miles, in tribute to the 01473 Ipswich area code.

elliot.furniss@eadt.co.uk

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