Olympic torch will come to Wearside

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holds aloft the Olympic Flame, the new golden torch which will be carried by the 8,000 runners on the London 2012 torch relay.
London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holds aloft the Olympic Flame, the new golden torch which will be carried by the 8,000 runners on the London 2012 torch relay.
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ICONIC Penshaw Monument will provide the backdrop when the Olympic torch travels through Sunderland.

Despite being initially missed off the route earlier this year, a full schedule today reveals the flame will pass through the city on Saturday, June 16.

Penshaw Monument

Penshaw Monument

People were today urged to give the procession a massive Wearside welcome, with plans already under way for a series of events to celebrate the famous flame passing by.

Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a very proud day for Sunderland.

“We want as many people as possible to have the chance to see the Olympic Flame as it passes through our city.

“The Olympics is the biggest sporting event ever to come to this country. This is a fantastic chance for people to be involved in something that will be talked about for generations to come and to demonstrate the warm welcome that Sunderland is famed for.”

Earlier this year, an announcement about the flame’s route sparked outrage when the city appeared to have missed out.

The Echo was then joined by politicians, sports personalities and people from across Wearside in calling for the torch to visit Sunderland.

Eventually Lord Coe stepped in and confirmed the route would take in the region’s biggest city.

Olympic chief Lord Seb Coe said: “We are thrilled to confirm that Sunderland will act as a host location for the Olympic Flame, extending an invitation to people in the surrounding area to welcome the Olympic torch Relay during its journey around the UK.

“This is the UK’s moment to shine and I want to encourage people across Sunderland to start planning how they can be part of this once in a lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational Torchbearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”

The 70-day Olympic Torch Relay starts at Land’s End, Cornwall, on May 19.

It will take in an estimated 8,000 miles and 1,000 villages, towns and cities along the way.

The torch will also be carried by an estimated 8,000 people who have inspired the community where they live.

Successful nominees will be contacted next month with final torchbearer places being confirmed from February next year,

Olympic bosses are also today launching two programmes inviting the public to get involved.

Local Leaders invites people to take the games into their community by creating their own celebration next year.

The Get Set for the Olympic Torch Relay is an educational kit available to schools and provides pupils with information on the history of the relay and the torch.

For more details, visit www.london2012.com.

Twitter: @sunechochief