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Olympic preparation: Weymouth and Portland children hold torch relay
The School to School Torch Relay kicked-off at the Nothe Fort yesterday.
Pupils, teachers and local dignitaries turned out in force to celebrate the ‘opening ceremony.’ Rain and wind failed to dampen spirits as the school’s very own Olympic-inspired relay began.
The torch will be escorted by schoolchildren on a trail around each of the 25 schools in the Chesil Education Partnership.
It will end with a ‘closing ceremony’ at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy next Monday.
A total of 26 torches have been made – one for each school, as well as the main torch used for the duration of the relay.
Throughout the day teams from each school braved the bad weather to run, cycle and walk the torch from one school to the next.
Weymouth and Portland Mayor Margaret Leicester was on hand to start the relay.
She said: “It is a very exciting time for the children and a way to get them involved in the Olympics.
“It is a real shame about the weather but it hasn’t dampened their spirits.”
Weymouth College sport ambassador Maria Lochrie, 19, who will also carry the Olympic flame, took the torch on the first leg of the relay from the Nothe Fort.
Local London 2012 torchbearers Betty Port and Neil Hardisty handed over a book of friendship and a flag to the Weymouth College team which will travel with the torch to the Sailing academy.
Caroline Peer, Chesil Development Leader, said: “Each school is doing something unique to celebrate their role in the torch relay.
“It really is a fantastic event where pupils from the area can embrace the Games and the legacy of the sailing events.
Ms Peer added: “A flag will be carried alongside the torch with the name and signature of each school added along the way.
“As well as this, every school will also produce a message of friendship which will all be combined in a book to present at the closing ceremony.”
All Saints School head boy Adam Kepple, 15, was chosen to collect the torch for his school.
He said: “It is really exciting to see all of the schools working together ahead of the Olympics.”
Members of the Nothe Fort Artillery entertained the crowds at the ceremony with bugle music and their canon-handling skills.
The children say...
• LAURA Hayward, 11, of St John’s Primary, said: “The best part of the day was cycling over to St Andrew’s with the torch but it was a bit wet”.
• NATHAN Quinn, 10, of St John’s Primary, said: “Getting the torch here has been really fun, better than lessons. We put our names down and teachers picked us to escort the torch.”
• BECKY McDaid, 13, of Westfield Arts College, said: “The best part of the day was holding the torch, it was really fun. The whole school has enjoyed the experience today.”
• JESSICA Allsopp, 14, of Westfield Arts College, said: “It’s brilliant that all the schools have come together.”