MORE than 1,000 schoolchildren are taking to the streets of Sunderland on Monday.
The youngsters will start the city’s countdown to the arrival of the Olympic torch with a relay of their own.
Over the course of three days, pupils will carry their own torch around Wearside, passing it from school to school.
The aim of the Sunderland Schools’ Torch Relay is to give the 2012 London Games a Wearsidefeel.
The 72-hour event will culminate in a run along the Seaburn seafront on Wednesday.
To kick off proceedings on Monday, children from Hetton School will set off with their torch and head for Houghton Kepier Sports School, from there the young people will go to St Robert of Newminster RC School, then to Oxclose Community School, Washington School, Biddick School and ending at Farringdon Community Sports College.
On day two, the torches will be passed from Farringdon to The Venerable Bede CE School, to Southmoor, St Aidan’s RC, St Anthony’s RC, Thornhill, Sandhill View and then to Academy 360.
On the final day, the students will take the torch from Academy 360 to Castle View Academy, then on to Red House Academy and finally to Monkwearmouth School. From there, the students will head to the seafront to meet up with representatives from all the secondary schools to run the torches along the beach.
As well as preparing for the main relay, all the secondary schools have organised community relays with primary and special schools within their areas.
Howard Kemp, headteacher at Farringdon Community Sports College, took on the marathon task of organising the relay because of his desire to make sure Sunderland’s children felt involved in the Olympic Games.
He said: “The torches will be passed on from school to school in the spirit of friendship, which is a cornerstone of the Olympic values.”
The £8,800 funding for the Sunderland Schools’ Torch Relay was provided by LOCOG, London Organising Committee for Olympic Games.
l Don’t miss the Echo’s Olympic Torch countdown, beginning this Monday.