Warm welcome for news Olympic torch is coming to Sunderland

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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THE Wearside politician who took the Prime Minister to task over the Olympic flame has welcomed news that it will be coming to Sunderland.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot challenged David Cameron over why the city had been missed off the torch’s tour of the region.

However, as revealed in yesterday’s Echo, Olympian Lord Coe said Sunderland would play host to the flame as it travels to the London 2012 Games.

Today Ms Elliot said: “I welcome the news that the torch is visiting Sunderland, but I hope that it stops over or has a substantial stay in the city to recognise the size of the city and the links to sport in the city.

“The petition we have had online, it is something I have had correspondence about from people I have never had correspondence from on anything else.

“I think it had really upset people that it was not coming.”

She added: “I think the organising committee realised they had made a mistake.

“But they have been very good talking to us when we raised the issue.”

Gary Hutchinson, chairman of the Sunderland branch of the North East Chamber of Commerce, believes the news is a great boost for the city.

He said: “I’m sure that residents will turn out in force to welcome the torch as it passes through our city and the wider region and I hope that the North East can enjoy some of the vast economic and tourism benefits that the games will bring.”