Staff at Weymouth College and from the local Community in Melcombe Regis turned out in their hundreds today to see the Torch Relay Procession on its last leg touring the sailing events host town Weymouth and Portland.
Since the first day of the Torch Relay back on 19th May 2012 at Lands End in Cornwall, the Olympic flame will visit 1,119 communities over 70 days, ending its journey on 27th July to officially open the games in London. Weymouth and Portland are playing a major part of these games, so it’s not hard to see why the arrival of the torch to our county has been greatly anticipated.
Dorset has been experiencing torrential rain and flooding in the lead up to this event, but locals were undeterred and have braved the rain and wind for the last two days to get a glimpse of the Olympic Torch and take part in the festivities of this unique and special occasion.
Despite the rain last night, a sea of cheering umbrella’s and raincoats on Weymouth beach celebrated the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron by Di Ludlow, who was the last Olympic Torch bearer on day 55 of its epic journey. The enthusiasm and pulling together of the community on the soggy beach was a true testament to the team spirit which drives the Olympic Games and the community of Weymouth and Portland.
Luckily, today’s celebrations remained dry and fine as the parade entertained spectators along Weymouth esplanade and made its way down to Lodmoor Country Park, where it joined the convoy, transporting it along the Beach Road to Preston and Osmington.
Music and dance provided by Weymouth College led the excitement of the event, creating an atmosphere of patriotic celebration which was felt by everyone, young and old. “I thought it was buzzing” said spectator, Debbie Ross-McKenzie. “It was really nice to see so many people lining the roads and streets and supporting the procession. We are so lucky to be hosting this event.”
Cheers of encouragement and excitement greeted the torch bearer, 24 year old British Finn sailor, Ben Scott as he ran proudly through the streets with the Olympic flame held high and burning brightly.
Being part of the crowd was a thrilling experience; it brought strangers together as they shared comments and observations and the sense of community spirit was overwhelming. For some locals, the road closures and inconveniences were forgotten as they shared in the experience and enjoyed the moment, shared with friends and family.
During the last few days of bad weather and adversity, the people of Dorset have certainly proved that they can keep calm and carry on.
By Sally Welbourn