Tourism Minister praises Sunderland and Durham for Olympic Flame welcome

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THE Tourism Minister has thanked the region for supporting the Olympic Flame.

“The Torch Relay has been the North East’s moment to shine,” said John Penrose.

“The scenes of celebration have been fantastic, with local communities lining the streets in their thousands and doing the whole region proud.

“It has showcased not only the North East’s incredible natural beauty, but also the warm and unique welcome that visitors can expect from local communities.”

More than 400,000 people turned out to watch the flame travel through the North East, including Sunderland and County Durham.

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ashman, who led the policing operation, praised everyone for making the relay a success.

“Since the torch crossed the border from Scotland into our area last Thursday we have witnessed some amazing scenes,” he said.

“Police have worked closely with a range of partners to ensure a safe and seamless passage of the Torch through our region and again local people have demonstrated their hospitality and enthusiasm in front of a world wide audience.

“Whether it was in bright sunshine or pouring rain, they turned out in their thousands to witness this once in a lifetime spectacle.

“People will remember the inspirational local torchbearers and good-natured crowds, with everyone involved, including our officers, joining together in the spirit of the games.”