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Thousands cheer the Olympic torch through Solihull

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of Solihull to welcome the Olympic torch to borough at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning.

sw 27 torch

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets of Solihull to welcome the Olympic torch to borough at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning.

Packed crowds greeted the flame which had travelled all the way from Greece on its journey to the London Games now less than four weeks away.

Alarms had been set for 5.30am or earlier as whole families descended on the route to get the best vantage point to see the historic occasion as the torch passed.

One onlooker Geraldine Mills spoke for thousands when she said: Were here because its a wonderful occasion and we will never ever see the Olympic flame again in our lifetime.

Another, Patricia Eveson, said: We just want to savour the atmosphere. Weve lived in Solihull for over 40 years and this is a great day and proud day for the borough.

Adding to the atmosphere were the cavalcade of sponsors buses and coaches as the excitement built towards the arrival of the torch in the borough, scheduled for 7.32am in Solihull Lane.

First came the police motorcycle outriders, blue lights flashing, the officers smiling, waving and high fiving the crowd.

Then flanked by outrunners from the Metropolitan Police, the torch relay came sweeping down Streetsbrook Road where houses were bedecked in Union flags and decorated with red white and blue balloons, the crowds cheering it on its way.

Going second left at the traffic island the torch was then carried up Station Road and from there to a tumultuous welcome into the High Street.

From there, passed the offices of the Solihull News, it descended Church Hill Road before going out along a crowd lined Homer Road, turning left by the massed ranks of onlookers and out into Blossomfield Road, carried by local charity fund raiser Andy Foote.

A re-organisation took place at Tudor Grange sports centre before the torch resumed its journey out towards Earlswood and from there on to Redditch and beyond.

 The torchbearers included Solihulls great Olympian, Tommy Godwin, aged 91, double medallist from the 1948 London Games, who is also an ambassador for London 2012.

Police Superintendent Sally Bourne, whod been up since 4.30am, hailed the operation as an outstanding success: This has been a combined operation involving us in the West Midlands Police, the Metropolitan Police and other forces and it has all gone incredibly smoothly.

The atmosphere was fantastic and there were thousands of people lining the streets and cheering the torch on.

 

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Cathrina Hulse
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Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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