Hastings prepares for Olympic Torch Week

THE biggest and most exciting party ever to be held in Hastings awaits the arrival of the Olympic torch this summer.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the seafront to take a look at the Eternal Flame as it winds its way towards the capital for the greatest show on earth.

A Community Task Group has come together to plan a week-long celebration for the event aimed at getting as many people involved as possible.

Since the visit was announced in the autumn, plans have been gathering momentum to embrace the event on a much wider scale.

On Tuesday evening the group met at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association club to discuss their progress, the third meeting since first coming together last summer.

Council leader Jeremy Birch chaired the meeting and was impressed by the number of ideas coming through.

The Torch Week will begin on Monday, July 16 with St Leonards Festival. There will be community events such as bike rides, golf putting and bowling competitions, dance and theatre performances.

On Tuesday there will be four main sites of entertainment and activities; Grosvenor Gardens, Warrior Square Gardens, The Stade and Hastings town centre.

In the early evening the flame is expected to arrive on the seafront and be taken to the main stage area at The Stade. The task group will be given two 10-minute slots to perform dance routines before welcoming the flame and its carriers onto the stage.

It will light a special cauldron on stage which can be seen from as far away as East and West Hill.

It is anticipated all the proceedings will be screened live by the BBC to a world-wide audience.

A major security operation will take place on the day which will allow only visitors with tickets onto the arena at The Stade. However anyone can watch the torch as it makes its way along the seafront.

Details on how to obtain tickets and who will carry the flame will be released at a later date.

Between Wednesday and Saturday it is hoped there will be a number of Olympic-themed sporting events and competitions.

And on Sunday several thousand pirates will gather on the seafront to attempt to make a new world record.

Councillor Birch said: “We are on course for one of the most exciting days in the history of this town.

“The community is taking charge and they are so good at organising festivals.

“It promises to be the biggest sporting, arts and community event ever witnessed here and we can’t wait for it to get under way.”

To get involved with the group contact Roger Crouch on 451130 or email: olympictorch@hastings.gov.uk