Task group prepares for arrival of Olympic flame

THE FINAL preparations for exciting plans to celebrate the Olympic torch visit next month are nearing completion.

As the Eternal Flame weaves its way steadily across the country, the Olympic Torch Task Group is busy putting the final touches to their masterplan for the historic occasion.

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the seafront on Tuesday July 17 to catch a glimpse of the flame as volunteers take it from Bexhill Road to The Stade for a grand finale party.

On Tuesday night, the Olympic Torch Task Group met at the East Hastings Angling Association club.

The co-ordinating committee of Kevin Boorman, head of marketing at the council, Old Town councillor John Hodges, council leader Jeremy Birch and event co-ordinator Roger Crouch addressed the group on progress.

Mr Boorman and Mr Crouch visited Swansea last Saturday to see for themselves how the city handled the Olympic torch visit.

Mr Boorman said: “The anticipation of the torch’s arrival was just electric.

“Everybody embraced the event, even those who were a bit sceptical before.

“Everything went very well and there were no problems with specatators or traffic.

“The organisation was very good with LOCOG and the sponsors and the police did a great job ensuring crowd safety.

“It gave us a great incite into what we may expect next month.”

It was revealed that 1,500 pupils had applied to line London Road as the Flame leaves the town on Wednesday morning.

All 27 schools in Hastings Borough had been invited to take part.

There will be 13 pop up shows across Hastings town centre and the St Leonards Festival will take place from 12pm to 9.30pm.There will be a main stage with arts and music acts and a children’s marquee.

Grosvenor Gardens will be the venue for a bowls tournament, putting competition and cycle ride along the seafront.

Battle Town Band will be playing in the gardens at 5pm and there will be a large screen beaming the torch event live.

The council has received 1,400 envelopes applying for tickets for the Rizzle Kicks performance at The Stade.

There is capacity for 3,000 people on site. Those attending are expected to be drawn out of a hat next week but they must have a Hastings postcode. Also on stage will be a community choir and Helenswood School pupils carrying out a dance.

Extra buses and trains will be laid on to get people in and out of town. There will be two park and ride schemes in operation, one at Harrow playing fields the other at Glyne Gap.

A large screen will be erected at Pelham car park to screen the event.

Mr Courch said: “This is a once of a lifetime opportunity. As demonstrated in Swansea you really do get swept along with the occasion. I felt safe in Swansea and I’m sure everything will run smoothly here.”

More stewards are needed for the event. If you would like to volunteer contact Mr Crouch on 451130