Grylls zips in with Olympic torch

First published in National News © by

TV adventurer Bear Grylls has completed a spectacular zip wire slide off the Tyne Bridge with the Olympic Torch.

Thousands lined the river to watch the finale of the flame's journey through Newcastle which also featured football legend Jack Charlton.

The crowd erupted in cheers as the ex-SAS action man completed the 400m slide from the top of the bridge's 195ft arch with fireworks.

He said afterwards: "I was kind of worried about the torch going out but it stayed alight. It was amazing. I was a bit nervous about rope and fire but it was fine and we are in one piece.

"They said the torch had been tested in a wind tunnel but you don't really know. A wind tunnel's one thing but the Tyne Bridge when it's a bit blowy is a different thing."

Earlier, 77-year-old World Cup winner Charlton carried the flame only months after undergoing a hip replacement following a fall at his home in Morpeth, Northumberland.

Charlton, once a no-nonsense centre half, said: "My health is getting better by the minute. My hip still bothers me but I can go up steps and I can walk fast. I am getting it working after a long, long time."

He played alongside his brother Sir Bobby, 74, in the 1966 England side that beat West Germany 4-2. He was an imposing figure in Leeds United's defence from the 1950s to the title-winning sides of the 1970s. He went on to manage Ireland in two World Cups, having been boss of Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough.

Carrying the torch, he beamed and waved at the cheering crowds. Looking sprightly, Charlton held the torch in one hand and a walking stick in the other.

The torch will be abseiled down the Sage music centre on Saturday before being taken through Tyneside, Sunderland, Hexham in Northumberland and on to Durham where another party will be held.


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