Thousands turn out to watch Olympic Torch relay in Brentwood

More than 35,000 people welcomed the Olympic Torch when it visited Herongate and Brentwood on Friday.

The community came out in force to welcome the torch and their 13 community heroes and cheer them on as they completed the relay.

Among them were Leah Carter, 16, from Brentwood, who plays hockey at regional level and coaches younger people; Louise Jones, 18, also from Brentwood. Louise runs her own blog Teen: Dreaming, and was named Channel 4’s young blogger of the year in 2010 for her blog on the mass media coverage of the terror attacks and the wars following 9/11 that have affected her generation.

They also included Matt Smith, 22, from Hornchurch, who has been a volunteer swimming teacher at Hornchurch Swimming Club for seven years; and Ingrid Brandon, from Elm Park, who is a volunteer and part of the Elm Park Regeneration Partnership which organises community events for the area.

Also running with the torch was Li Bingbing a Chinese actress and singer who is the Chinese equivalent of Angelina Jolie.

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In Ingrave Road, Brentwood, a family and friends were kitted out with flags and even painted their garage door with the Union Jack to welcome the torch.

Norman Staley said: “This is a good way for everyone to join together in celebration. And we have become part of history today. Not everyone can say the torch came past their house.”

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His daughter Katie Milham said: “It has been a good atmosphere and everyone was looking forward to it. This is not something that you see everyday and we will remember it. My nephew even painted the garage door with the Union Jack especially to celebrate the torch coming past us.”

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