Blimey… what a day! I hope the Torch gets the same very enthusiastic and warm response in other parts of the country, as it did in Cornwall!
Yesterday the Torch travelled through familiar towns and places: Falmouth, Truro, Newquay and the Eden Project; among other places. And Liskeard. Our little market town was finally getting a share of the limelight and didn’t we respond fantastically!
Firstly, I need to clarify, Love Liskeard were not behind the organisation of the day. We, like other community groups, helped them publicise it and gathered support for the clean up (at which several members of Love Liskeard also volunteered), but it was the Town Council who organised the Torch day.
The reason we wanted to be so explicit about this, is that several times yesterday, people came up to us and congratulated us. We told them there and then, that we were just there as excited residents, and that we weren’t the organisers. Credit must go where it’s due.
Most of us went down with our families and friends and made the most of live music, stalls, sports events, dancing and some lovely food (free cream teas and a hog roast spring to mind!) Dave Benson Phillips was a star and a gentleman (even signing an autograph for a friend of mine who was over the moon!)
We’d heard throughout the day the Torch was running between 20 and 30 minutes late, and we took the opportunity later on in the day, to stand outside a friend’s house on Plymouth Road and eagerly await the main event! Folks continued to chat and wander between knots of people lining the road as the crowds got bigger and bigger. Dogs barked and kids played. Flags fluttered and drinks were poured and then finally, we saw the police outriders, eventually followed by the first sponsors’ convoy and after a small delay… the Torch!
All this build up, waiting and organisation for a Torch, but what a Torch! No one was unmoved; we cheered and clapped and waved but most of all we felt proud. Proud that the Torch started in Cornwall, and proud that when it came through Liskeard, we gave it a thoroughly rousing reception. Also, personal pride. I was one of the first community ambassadors for the 2012 Bid, which culminated in me giving a speech on the stage in Trafalgar square in front of 15,000 people just days before the announcement. I remember taking calls from the media, after the announcement, asking me how I felt that London had the Olympics and choked up, all I could keep repeating was that I was chuffed to bits! Not very eloquent, but I think I was forgiven. Yesterday, once again, I was chuffed to bits.
I think the biggest congratulations must go to the tireless volunteers, but also the people that went yesterday who were critical in showing off our town as the friendly, interesting and fun place we know it to be. Capable of putting on big events, but still maintaining a community feel. And of course, the runners who ranged from 19 up to 81 years old.
Now, to rest our weary bones until the next big event… the Jubilee. See you there!
(Photos to follow!)