Olympic Torch Relay: Thousands come to Romford for historical event

�It was a flamin’ hot day for the thousands of people – five and six deep in parts – who lined the Olympic torch route in Romford town centre, on Sunday.

Barriers separated the good-natured crowd, some dressed in patriotic colours, from the torchbearers as they snaked their way through the town.

Many were close enough to get a good view, and at times nearly touch, the inspirational runners and their iconic golden torches.

A Mexican wave of cheers and applause accompanied the runners on their short but momentous journeys.

Mobiles phones and cameras were held aloft as the crowd sought to capture the fleeting moment in history –widely described as “a once-in-a-lifetime” event. Katie Munnings, 31, a legal PA from Harold Hill, brought English bulldog Monty, to Romford Market Place.

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She said: “I felt I couldn’t miss this, especially since it’s right on my doorstep.

“We’ve been so lucky with the weather, so there was no excuse not to be here!

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“It’s a very English thing to come out and celebrate something in the street and I’m happy to be part of that tradition.”

Party spirit

Revellers started gathering in the hours leading up to the Torch’s arrival, bringing flags, picnics, and a sense of occasion, with them.

Roger Arnay and the Circus Company, the Romford Drum and Trumpet Corps, the Phoenix Dance Academy and tribute band Mannequins, got the crowd in the party spirit the before the show really started.

The crowd swelled just minutes before the torch arrived in Romford Town Centre.

It was carried from St Edwards’ Way by Jonathan Fraser, 25, into High Street where it was taken by Aimee Sell, 17, a karate champion from Hornchurch, into the Market.

There it was given to Caitlin Hewson, 12, from Aveley – who has overcome a host of allergies and health problems to become a keen sportswoman for Gaynes School, in in Brackendale Gardens, Upminster.

She completed a circuit of the historic square, before handing the torch to Mo Morris, 57, from Leytonstone, who carried the Flame into South Street.

From there, it was given to former gold-winning Olympian Ben Hunt-Davis, in South Street, and Tracy Yuen, 33, before it was taken onto Hornchurch and finally Rainham.

Adrian Sinclaire, 35, took daughter Tahlia , four, to see it.

He said: “Hopefully Tahlia will remember it for the rest of her life. ”

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