Sunderland’s Olympic Torch celebrations total £28,000 cost revealed

Micah Berger with the torch on Wearmouth Bridge.
Micah Berger with the torch on Wearmouth Bridge.
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THE OLYMPIC Torch Relay and celebrations at Herrington Country Park last summer cost Sunderland City Council £28,000 to stage.

A Freedom of Information request by the Echo has revealed the authority spent £11,764 on preparing the torch’s route through the city, and another £16,199 on Herrington Country Park’s celebration event.

Road closures along the route cost the council £4,425, while its preparation and eventual clean-up came in at £2,839.

Marshalls were deployed at a cost of £2,000, and further security was provided by 3G CCTV cameras, for which the council forked out £2,500.

Meanwhile, a giant screen at Herrington Country Park set the authority back £5,525, and a firework display cost £4,200.

Having the necessary first aid and ambulance provisions on hand cost a further £3,619, while toilets at the park accounted for £2,855.

No policing costs were passed on to Sunderland City Council, and all other staffing was covered by the council’s budget.

Any other costs relating to the Herrington event came from the Sunderland Festival budget.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Paul Watson, praised the unique event and said the authority had saved money as best it could. “The Olympic Torch Relay was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people in the city to join in the celebrations around the relay,” he said.

“This hugely popular event saw more than 10,000 people lining the streets to cheer on the Olympic Flame when it was carried through Sunderland last June.

“A further 9,000 people braved the rain to join in the torch relay celebrations at Herrington Country Park, and the response from Sunderland residents was tremendous.

“Celebrations at Herrington Country Park were very much a partnership effort, with businesses, schools and community groups working with the council and the emergency services to help make it the success that it was.

“The Olympic Torch Relay was incorporated into the wider Sunderland Festival, which was planned to take place across the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Delivering the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as part of an established festival weekend helped the council keep costs down by making use of the infrastructure and event programme that was already in place for the bigger festival.”