Region will be an Olympic winner

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe holds aloft the Olympic Flame, the new golden torch which will be carried by 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 8,000 runners on the London 2012 torch relay.
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OLYMPIC celebrations are set to provide a lasting legacy for the region.

Both Sunderland and Durham will see the Olympic Torch Relay pass through and as many people as possible in both areas are being urged to join in the celebrations, with plans under way to make it an occasion to remember.

Durham County Council’s Olympic-themed events, including an evening featuring the torch, will be discussed by its cabinet next week when members will be asked to approve the £178,000 needed to deliver the celebration event.

The council is also hoping to work with partners on cultural and sporting events to mark the London 2012 Olympic Games as part of the authority’s Join In campaign, to celebrate achievements and excellence, reaching out to the whole community.

Councillor Maria Plews, the council’s cabinet member for leisure, libraries and lifelong learning, said: “It is vital that residents here feel part of the Olympic moment which 2012 will bring and share in the benefits of a lasting legacy programme.

“We must use this opportunity to celebrate 2012, increase participation in sporting, cultural and volunteering activities, reach out to all our young people and deliver on our long held ambition to create a world-class Durham Institute of Sport.

“Such an institute would then provide a focus for gifted and talented young sportsmen and women in our county and serve to encourage them to be the best they can.”

The council is contractually obliged to provide the funds needed to deliver the main celebration evening, which forms part of the Olympic Torch Relay overnight stop on June 16.

Coun Plews added: “It is a real honour to be chosen to host one of the evening celebrations and the fact that our’s will fall on a Saturday gives us a wonderful opportunity to stage a major event during which the Olympic Flame itself will be presented to the public attending.”

Durham expects to learn in the New Year which headline act or artist will be assigned to the city for the Olympic Torch celebration.

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