Fylde wins gold for enthusiasm

The Lytham Community Choir prepare to welcome the Olympic torch to Lytham
The Lytham Community Choir prepare to welcome the Olympic torch to Lytham

FYLDE folk are winners when it comes to Olympic spirit.

Residents of all ages turned out in force to greet the Olympic torch on its historic visit, despite the fact it was just after 6am when it set off from Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club.

Torchbearer 009 Brian Porter hugs Torchbearer 010 Geraldine Mcgrane as he passes the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Lytham St Anne's and Warton. The Torchbearer's name is provided in good faith, however the Press Association has been unable to verify it independently.

Torchbearer 009 Brian Porter hugs Torchbearer 010 Geraldine Mcgrane as he passes the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Lytham St Anne's and Warton. The Torchbearer's name is provided in good faith, however the Press Association has been unable to verify it independently.

And Olympic organisers were so impressed that they have written to the council to thank the people of Fylde for their enthusiasm.

The streets were packed with delighted crowds as the flame wended its way, via the hands of 15 torchbearers, from St Annes through Fairhaven to Lytham and then on to Warton.

Fylde Council leader Coun David Eaves said: “People from every corner of Fylde were fantastic.

“I watched the torchbearing along the Inner Promenade with my wife and there were thousands of people, four or five deep, on both sides, as far as we could see.

“The same was true at every point on the route.

“The atmosphere was truly uplifting and residents deserve the highest praise for giving their time at such an early hour.

“Everyone was well behaved and enthusiastic. It seemed that no-one in Fylde wanted to miss it.

“The organisers have written to the council to say how much they appreciated the enthusiastic crowds and also the volunteers – mainly council staff and councillors from all parties – who gave their time to support the Olympics.

“This really is a fantastic summer for Fylde. We can all take a short rest – and then the eyes of the world will be on us again for the Open Golf.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who watched the torch at Royal Lytham and then as it passed Lytham Windmill, said: “I’m emotional – it was an incredibly proud moment to see the torch go past.

“At the time when people heard the torch was coming at 6am some said no-one would come out, but you couldn’t get a spot on the pavement. The Olympic spirit was very much alive and I’m very proud.”

The 300-strong Lytham Community Choir created a party atmosphere on Lytham Green, entertaining the crowds by singing Mack the Knife, I’ll Be There and Take That’s Shine as the torch ran past.

Fylde’s mayor Coun Heather Speak, who said: “It was a very proud and emotional moment and a wonderful party atmosphere.”

A planned Olympic sports day had to be cancelled in Warton, because of the bad weather, but that didn’t stop masses lining the streets to see the flame make its historic journey through the village.

Warton Coun Julie Brickles said: “There were lots of people on the streets and it was a very special experience.”

More than 100 photographs of Saturday’s Olympic torchbearing can now be seen by anyone on a webpage created by Fylde Council. Click http://www.fylde.gov.uk/leisure-culture-and-tourism/olympictorchgallery/