Gallery: One in three turned out to see Olympic Torch Relay in west Suffolk
NEARLY a quarter of a million people witnessed the Olympic torch’s historic passage through Suffolk.
Saturday- day 50 of the relay - it made its way through Haverhill, followed by Bury St Edmunds and then Newmarket before continuing on to Cambridge.
The atmosphere was electric in Bury as an estimated 40,000 to 45,000 people turned out for the occasion, beating the expected top number of 25,000.
The torch was carried from Horringer Road, through the town centre, and finally to the West Suffolk Athletics Track at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre where it was greeted by hundreds of young people who had taken part in the Suffolk Youth Games.
Inspirational torchbearers had their moment to shine, including Alysia McIntyre, 21, from just outside Stowmarket, who carried the torch to the finish in Bury.
She described the experience as “amazing” and “surreal”. “This is something I will remember for the rest of my life which is expected,” she said.
She was nominated for her work in training and coaching a group of girls from a school in Kenya to play netball, giving continuing support to them.
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Torchbearer Sarah Farley, 28, from Long Melford, was extremely familiar with her route from Greene King’s Westgate Brewery site in Westgate Street into the centre of town. The Greene King employee said it was her route into town every lunchtime.
She described the experience as “overwhelming” and “very humbling”.
“I am still quite speechless about it all. It was lovely to spot people in the crowd I knew. There was just so much going on to take in. It was just so lovely how many people came out in support.”
Miss Farley, who is engaged to Ben Boxall, was nominated by colleagues and friends for her positive attitude, and she added how she has grown up with the Olympics as her father Rob is the chairman of the Society of Olympic Collectors.
Paralympics hopeful Brian Alldis from Bury was set to carry the torch in Bishop’s Storford, but at the last minute he was given the opportunity to be a torchbearer in his hometown instead.
Families lined the streets in anticipation of the torch, knowing they would be part of a once in a lifetime experience.
Chrissy Trendall, 61, of Newmarket Road, Bury, who watched the torch pass from a packed Angel Hill, said it was “worth every minute of it”.
“There was a huge build-up to it and it was absolutely amazing. It’s part of history and to just see it really and to see so many people out and about and enjoying it and different people you know - it was amazing.”
Aoife, 12, who was with her father Tony Doherty, venue director for the Apex in Bury, described it as “exciting” and a “once in a lifetime experience”.
He added: “It’s a celebration of our British capacity to put on something like this, and the support shows that.”
Nicky Lawrence, 38, from Bury, whose son Matthew, 11, won a medal in basketball in the Suffolk Youth Games, said: “I think it’s nice for us because it’s a small Suffolk town and there are all the kids here so they have all had the opportunity to see the flame.”
Throughout Suffolk 245,000 spectators turned out over the three days the torch was in the county.
Councillor Colin Noble, cabinet member for the Olympics at Suffolk County Council, said: “I am thrilled to see so many people have turned out to support the torch as it made its way through Suffolk. The atmosphere along the way has been incredible and I am certain this has been an experience that will stay with people always.”
Mayor of St Edmundsbury councillor Tim Marks said the Olympic torch relay had been a “tremendous event” locally.