Make Bridport's Torch Relay a day to remember

Bridport is planning to give a resounding welcome to the Olympic Torch Relay on July 12.

The Spirit Festival team and Bridport Arts Centre, the town council and police have been working together to make it a day to remember.

A series of events has been planned and organisers hope the town will be packed with children from schools who will have the afternoon off, disabled groups, townspeople wearing hats, musicians and street performers.

There will be outdoor musical events in the Arts centre courtyard and on the town’s newly refurbished square into the late afternoon.

Coun Ros Kayes is working with former head of St Mary’s School, Sheila Meaney to bring young people into the town.

She said: “We want all the students to dress up and wear something whacky.

“Bring along some ticker tape or any leftover vuvuzuelas.

“In particular, for everyone who takes the afternoon off work we want them to join in to wear a hat.

“We hope that as the torch is run through the streets there will be a mass hat and ticker tape throwing that will look really impressive.

“And we want people to make a noise. Maybe even a giant Mexican Wave”.

Mayor Dave Rickard will be on a dais outside the town hall to greet the torchbearers Peter Hellawell, Laura Kerr and Katie Norman and welcome them to Bridport.

Before the relay at 2.30pm 60 schoolchildren will take part in a fun-run from Barrack Street to AmSafe in West Street, welcomed by a peal of bells from St Mary’s Church.

The Spirit team is hoping it will be a real opportunity to advertise Bridport and this summer’s festival of culture nationwide, with Spirit festival flags to be mounted through the town in the days before the event.

Following the relay itself, a series of performers will provide entertainment in the forecourt of Bridport Arts Centre, including morris dancing and music including Elijah and Ava Wolf, Declan and Lauren and Pete Millson.

“We really hope it’s a day to remember for the town, an opportunity to take the afternoon off and have some fun,” said Coun Kayes.

“People get awfully cynical about the Olympics, but now it’s nearly here I think we should get out and really enjoy it.”

Pubs and restaurants are being asked to put on a special meal for the day – a Torch or Olympic themed lunch or tea – to encourage people to come into town and it is hoped celebrations will begin from lunchtime onwards.

What’s happening during event

• The Torch Relay is due to start from the A35 East Road near Lee Lane at 2.46pm and reach the East Road roundabout at 2.55pm on Thursday, July 12.

• East Street, West Street and the top of South Street will be closed to traffic from 2.25pm until 3.25pm. Signs and notices about the closures will be in evidence in advance.

• There will be no on-street parking on East and West streets from 11am, but district council car parks will be free for the day and there will be information about out of town parking. Spectators will be encouraged to walk into town.

• The relay sponsors’ ‘activation units’ will be first into town, ten minutes ahead of the first torchbearer.

• The first of the three torchbearers will carry torch to the town side of the East Road roundabout, the second to the Town Hall and the third will take it down West Street and out of town.

• The Torch Convoy will leave from West Allington to go on to the relay stages at Chideock at 3.13pm and Lyme Regis at 3.35pm and the convoy will return later in the afternoon via the by-pass and Crown roundabout to go along the coast road for the next relay stage at Burton Bradstock starting at 4.52pm.

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