Golden hope for Olympic torch

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SCARBOROUGH’S tourism bosses are remaining optimistic that the area will be included in the route of the Olympic Torch.

The official announcement is due to be made later this month and follows an earlier release of overnight stops for the international sporting emblem across the UK.

Last month it was revealed that the flame would stop in Middlesbrough on June 17, Hull on June 18 and York on June 19 – suggesting a strong possibility of a detour though the Scarborough area.

Cllr David Jeffels, the council’s portfolio holder for tourism, said: “We are hoping that the Olympic Torch will come through the borough and will itself be a big attraction for residents and holidaymakers alike.

“Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that we are going to see this historic event take place in Scarborough.”

He added that the overnight stops were a good indication that Scarborough had a good chance to be included. He said: “It would be a tremendous honour – it’d be the first time that we’ve ever had the Olympic Torch in this area. I don’t know where it went in 1948, for the last London games, but I imagine it didn’t come here.”

According to the Olympic Games Museum the 1948 torch relay travelled from Greece through Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, back through France and across the English Channel to Dover before heading to Wembley.

Janet Deacon, the Welcome To Yorkhire director responsible for the Scarborough area, said it would be “fantastic” to attract the flame’s relay route through the area

She added: “The coverage that we’d get for this area would be fantastic. People follow the route of the torch and they would come here to see what the area was like, and hopefully they will come to stay here again.

“I am optimistic. We are all doing everything that we can to encourage it to come through the area.”

Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and chairman of Yorkshire Gold, said: “We are hopeful of trying to get the torch as close to as many people as possible in Yorkshire.

“Nationally the aim is to have the torch within an hour of where people live, in Yorkshire our aim is to get people within 30 minutes if possible and we will be working hard to make this happen.”

In February it was revealed that Scarborough Council had submitted a bid which proposed the suitability for the area to be included on the route.

The flame will arrive in the UK on May 18 next year and will tour Britain for 70 days ahead of the games at the end of July – its journey will begin at Land’s End in Cornwall.

The council bid submitted to Olympic bosses highlighted areas of cultural, historical and sporting significance across the area, as well as important landmarks, areas of natural beauty and major events.

If successful, the torch’s route could take in landmarks such as Oliver’s Mount, Peasholm Park and the new Open Air Theatre.