YOUNGSTERS were on fire as they ran the final leg of Sunderland’s very own Olympic torch relay.
Thousands of children joined a huge celebration to help make the London 2012 games something special for them to remember.
Over three days pupils from all Wearside secondary schools ran their own torches around the streets of Sunderland, passing them from school to school.
To mark the end of the relay, representatives from each of the secondary schools ran together from Whitburn to Roker Pier with their torches held high, as they were cheered on by the watching crowd.
The event proved a huge success, with the young people coming together as a city rather than separate schools.
Jordan Hackles, 17, a pupil at Barbara Priestman School, who joined in the final leg, said: “It was great to be part of it all, everyone running together.”
Bethany Porter, 13, from Monkwearmouth School, said the event had been a lot of fun and added: “We learned a lot about the Olympics and that it is the taking part that counts.”
Pals Alisha Yates and Rachael Kirby, 14-year-old students at Red House Academy, took part of the final leg.
“It made you realise how much hard work is put in by the athletes to take part in the Olympics,” said Alisha.
“Before, I wasn’t really interested in it, but I’ll be watching it now.”
Rachael said: “The thought of running with the pupils from all the other schools was a little bit scary at first, but when we all got together it was brilliant.”
Nicola Revely-Atherton, head of sport at Sandhill View School, said: “It has just been the most amazing experience for everyone involved.
“It was fantastic for all the schools to come together in the true spirit of the Olympics.”
As well as the three-day relay around the secondary schools, each held a torch event involving their feeder primaries and special schools.
It was all the brainchild of Howard Kemp, headteacher at Farringdon Community Sports College, who wanted to bring a little bit of the Olympic spirit to Wearside.
“I am so delighted with the way it went,” he said. “All the kids seemed to have had a fantastic time.
“It brought all the schools and their communities together, which is great.”
The £8,800 funding for the Sunderland Schools’ Torch Relay was provided by the London Organising Committee for Olympic Games.
The torches from all 107 schools will be displayed at the Olympic torch celebration event on Saturday, at Herrington Country Park.