The Olympic Torch finally arrived in Sleaford today and Sleafordians pulled out all the stops to give it a huge welcome. A once in a lifetime event like this really needs recording so I lined the streets with thousands of others armed with my trusty Olympus OMD and shot the the excitement as it unfolded. It made a change from photographing weddings and portraits I must say. I thought it would be nice to copy the live feed from the BBC news website that described the action as it happened :
1607: Here we are then in Sleaford and getting things under way is Sleaford local Neil Woodmansey. During 26 years of service as a fire officer in Lincolnshire, he’s also been to Pakistan and Haiti in search-and-rescue missions following earthquakes that devasted the regions.Neil’s nomination also describes him as “fun to be around, compassionate, hardworking.” No wonder Neil was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List last year as well as being named as one of the top-100 happy people in the UK!
1610: Neil is waving to the crowd lined up on the verges of Boston Road. An occasional burst of cheers, or wave of a homemade torch or Union Jack salute Neil in return.Towards the end of his leg, Neil collects a black labrador. It’s probably his dog Holly, who helps him on search-and-rescue missions.
1612: A smacker on the cheek from Neil and it’s over to local Mum Suzanne Bolton next. The crowd has thickened on this stretch, there are children in fancy dress, cheers – and the obligatory burst of Chariots of Fire – fill the airWhile bringing up three children alone, Suzanne volunteered at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, in turn this led her to taking an Open University degree in IT. Now, she’s an IT project manager for the NHS and doing a part-time masters in software engineering. Her nomination says: “a life which seemed condemned to benefit reliance became one full of satisfaction because of her resilience.”
1615: The Olympic flame goes to Kathleen Wood now, and there’s a shout-out from a young member of the crowd, “Go torch!” The crowds are buzzing as the relay moves along the thoroughfare of South Gate and North Gate.
1620: If Sleaford is going to get an improved village hall then Deborah Chessum might have something to do with it. The Sleaford local is raising funds for the hall and voluntarily started a club to get more people into health and fitness. She also runs marathons, hosts race nights and runs coffee mornings to raise funds for charities.Deborah is doing a good job her, swapping the torch between hands so she can wave to the crowd on each side.
1624: We’ve just gone past the grammar school and then there’s another burst of music from a suited and booted brass band. Deborah has a bit of a stretch to pass the flame on to the next tall torchbearer
1626: Robert Mohan has the flame now, although he is someone more used to flinging things great distances rather than carrying them… Rob is a Great Britain junior shot putter and holds the Lincolnshire county record with a throw of 17.70m. The 21-year-old is also coached by former shot putter and world’s strongest man Geoff Capes, who’s also from Lincolnshire.
Rob’s having a good chat with the members of the torch security team during his stint, and it looks like a bit of a giggle too
1634: Rob finishes his leg and happily he doesn’t shot put the torch away at the end, he carefully transfers the flame back to the lantern. The relay route is now on its way to Bracebridge Heath, which used to be home to an RAF airbase.