Open-air party to mark Durham Olympic torch arrival

85 year - old Larry Smith of Pittington (left) and 80 year old Ken Allday of Newton Hall practise their olympic torch - carrying skills in the gym at Abbey Leisure Centre in Durham.
85 year - old Larry Smith of Pittington (left) and 80 year old Ken Allday of Newton Hall practise their olympic torch - carrying skills in the gym at Abbey Leisure Centre in Durham.
0
Have your say

AN open-air party will mark the arrival of the Olympic torch.

The torch will pass through Durham on June 16, 17, and 20, after its tour of Sunderland.

Among those carrying it will be Easington-born television presenter Matt Baker and Durham and England cricketer Paul Collingwood.

The party is open to all and will start at 5pm on Saturday, June 16, at The Racecourse, Green Lane, Durham City.

It will feature live coverage of the torch as it passes through the county, live music and entertainment, and the party will culminate in the lighting of an Olympic Cauldron at about 6.50pm.

One Show presenter Matt, who went to school in Belmont, Durham City, is delighted to be chosen as one of the 101 torch bearers.

“It is an honour to be chosen to carry the flame through my home county,” he said. “I hope I can play some part, however small, in inspiring young people in County Durham to follow their dreams.”

Among the less well-known torch bearers will be 85-year-old Larry Smith and Ken Allday, 80.

Both men keep in trim with regular sessions at the Abbey Leisure Centre, Pity Me, Durham City, although they had not met before the torch brought them together.

Larry was nominated by his granddaughter and will carry the torch through Blackhall Colliery on June 17.

“I thought it was a joke when I first found out,” he said. “I didn’t know I’d been nominated and the first thing I heard about it was when I got the confirmation letter as a Christmas present.

“Carrying the torch is a once-in-a-lifetime honour, and I’m delighted to be doing it.”

Ken received his nomination thanks to his fundraising efforts for St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Merryoaks, Durham City, where his wife spent her final days.

He will carry the torch through Durham City on June 16.

Full details of the torch’s route will be published nearer the time.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho