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London 2012 Olympics 10 year anniversary: How Suffolk turned out for torch relay through Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Haverhill a decade ago



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The Olympic torch relay brought a 'festival feeling' to thousands of people across Suffolk a decade ago, as crowds lined the streets to be a part of the historic occasion.

Ahead of London hosting the summer 2012 Games, the torch was carried by a total of 8,000 people across the UK, covering 12,800km and visiting 1,000 towns and villages.

Several places in Suffolk featured on the route, with torchbearers moving the flame from Norwich to Ipswich, via Lowestoft, Wrentham, Reydon, Southwold, Kelsale, Saxmundham, Aldeburgh, Wickham Market, Ufford, Melton, Woodbridge and Felixstowe on day 48 - July 5.

Kyle McLean gets the relay underway on Horringer Road
Kyle McLean gets the relay underway on Horringer Road

The torch then journeyed from Ipswich to Chelmsford on day 49, before being transported to Cambridge on day 50, July 7, via Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

As today marks a whole decade since that day, we've taken a look back at how our county celebrated the occasion with photos and reports from our sister newspapers.

On July 7, 2012, Haverhill was the first place in Suffolk the Olympic torch visited that day, after being transported through Harlow, Hertford, Bishop's Stortford and Saffron Walden.

Haverhill

The Olympic torch relay through Haverhill in July 2012
The Olympic torch relay through Haverhill in July 2012
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Issy Gower carries the torch in Haverhill
Issy Gower carries the torch in Haverhill
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Caroline Mclean carries the Olympic torch on Wratting Road, Haverhill
Caroline Mclean carries the Olympic torch on Wratting Road, Haverhill
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In a report in our sister paper, the Haverhill Echo, it was said that a 'festival feeling' had 'engulfed' the town that Saturday, estimating between 15,000 and 20,000 had turned out to witness the historic moment the torch went past.

MP Matt Hancock said it had been a proud day for the town.

"It's all about the sense of community, and you could feel it in the area waiting for the torch," he said.

"It passed so quickly but I could feel that it brought the whole town together."

Meanwhile, St Edmundsbury mayor Tim Marks said it was 'unprecedented' to see so many people on the streets, and Haverhill mayor Pat Hanlon said it was the 'biggest event' he had ever seen in the years he had been there.

People of all ages had gathered together on that Saturday to watch the event, including young children.

And six year-old Burton End Primary School pupil Joni André said: "It's a great chance, as we may never see it go past again."

Fellow pupil James Player, 10, said: "I want to watch the Torch as it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Bury St Edmunds

The Olympic torch is carried through crowds of people in Bury St Edmunds on 7 July 2012, on Out Westgate near to the Spread Eagle pub. Picture: Robert Robertson
The Olympic torch is carried through crowds of people in Bury St Edmunds on 7 July 2012, on Out Westgate near to the Spread Eagle pub. Picture: Robert Robertson
John Daniells walked the whole of the Bury torch route selling flags in aid of Help for Heroes
John Daniells walked the whole of the Bury torch route selling flags in aid of Help for Heroes
Lewis Bedwell, 6, with a torch he made, waiting at the front of the rails
Lewis Bedwell, 6, with a torch he made, waiting at the front of the rails
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The Cross family - Jim, Cameron, 6, Laura and Elizabeth, 4
The Cross family - Jim, Cameron, 6, Laura and Elizabeth, 4
The Fox family - Shaun, Esmee, 7, Finn, 4, and Dymphna
The Fox family - Shaun, Esmee, 7, Finn, 4, and Dymphna
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Entertainment on Angel Hill before the torch arrive
Entertainment on Angel Hill before the torch arrive
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Matthew Humpfrey carries the torch on Angel Hill
Matthew Humpfrey carries the torch on Angel Hill
Matthew Humpfrey carries the torch on Angel Hill
Matthew Humpfrey carries the torch on Angel Hill
Kyle McLean gets the relay underway on Horringer Road
Kyle McLean gets the relay underway on Horringer Road
Billy Baxter carries the torch on Out Westgate
Billy Baxter carries the torch on Out Westgate
Richard Fitzsimons passes the torch to Sarah Farley at the Greene King brewery
Richard Fitzsimons passes the torch to Sarah Farley at the Greene King brewery
Sarah Farley brings the torch out of the Greene King brewery
Sarah Farley brings the torch out of the Greene King brewery
Sarah Farley passes the torch to Matthew Humphrey on Crown Street
Sarah Farley passes the torch to Matthew Humphrey on Crown Street
Matthew Humphrey carries the torch past the Cathedral
Matthew Humphrey carries the torch past the Cathedral
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Carolyn Hare carries the torch under the railway bridge on Fornham Road
Carolyn Hare carries the torch under the railway bridge on Fornham Road
..
Brian Alldis collects the flame from Ryan Jay
Brian Alldis collects the flame from Ryan Jay
Brian Alldis salutes the crowds
Brian Alldis salutes the crowds
Torch bearer Alysia McIntyre
Torch bearer Alysia McIntyre
Sarah Farley brings the torch out of the Greene King brewery
Sarah Farley brings the torch out of the Greene King brewery
Tom Chan carries the torch down Out Westgate
Tom Chan carries the torch down Out Westgate
Chai Wai Frankie Tang on Fornham Road
Chai Wai Frankie Tang on Fornham Road
The Olympic Torch is carried by Michelle Gidney
The Olympic Torch is carried by Michelle Gidney
All the Olympic torch relay team
All the Olympic torch relay team
Entertainment at West Suffolk sports track
Entertainment at West Suffolk sports track
Alysia McIntyre, on the last leg of the relay
Alysia McIntyre, on the last leg of the relay
Alysia McIntyre on the last leg of the relay
Alysia McIntyre on the last leg of the relay
Alysia McIntyre also met the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Tim Marks, John Griffiths, the leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and MP David Ruffley
Alysia McIntyre also met the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Tim Marks, John Griffiths, the leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, and MP David Ruffley
Alysia McIntyre was surrounded with hundreds of children trying to get a look at the torch
Alysia McIntyre was surrounded with hundreds of children trying to get a look at the torch

The torch then moved on to Bury St Edmunds, where by the Bury Free Press described people as 'cheering and hooting' as the Olympic fame passed through the town.

Twelve-year-old Kyle McLean, from Essex, was the first to have his Olympic torch ignited to the 'rapturous cheers of the assembled crowds'.

Louise Williams and Lynne Burns, who had been watching athletics together for years, were delighted to be able to watch the torch relay travel through the town together.

They said: "It feels like a bit of history, we will not get to do this again.

"I think it makes everyone feel a part of the Olympics whether they can actually go or not. When you look around there's kids, parents and grandparents everyone has turned out."

The relay paused briefly at Greene King, where employees and their families watched as colleagues Richard Fitzsimons and Sarah Farley stood on a stage to pass on the flame.

The largest crowds gathered on Angel Hill, where people crowded on to balconies and hung out of windows to witness the iconic torch being carried past the town's historic Abbey Gate.

Paralympian Brian Alldis was one of those who carried the flame in his home town.

Brian, who competed in the Paralympics at Beijing 2008, carried the torch up Beetons Way and past County Upper School where he was a student.

He said: "It was amazing - I was quite speechless when I carried the torch, so many people came out to watch.

"I was not sure how many people would be out, but the whole route was really busy. It was nice to see everyone, it was one big party."

The relay concluded at Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centre where 3,000 people gathered to see Alysia McIntyre, 21, from the town, carry the torch on a lap of honour around the leisure centre's athletics track before taking her position atop a podium to a final rapturous cheer.

Alysia said: "It was amazing there were so many people - Bury St Edmunds has done an amazing job, particularly with the amount of people all through the town."

Cllr John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said the relay had 'surpassed all expectations', with estimates suggesting there had been 60,000 people watching the event.

Newmarket

The Olympic torch relay in Newmarket
The Olympic torch relay in Newmarket
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St Louis School children wait for the torch
St Louis School children wait for the torch
St Louis School children wait for the torch
St Louis School children wait for the torch
St Louis School children wait for the torch
St Louis School children wait for the torch
Cubs, Scouts, Beavers and Guides at St Louis School
Cubs, Scouts, Beavers and Guides at St Louis School
Cubs, Scouts, Beavers and Guides at St Louis School
Cubs, Scouts, Beavers and Guides at St Louis School
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Andy Mcgowan with the torch
Andy Mcgowan with the torch
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Louise Barnes with the torch
Louise Barnes with the torch
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Feng Li Passes to Chris Ramsdale
Feng Li Passes to Chris Ramsdale
Chris Ramsdale with the torch
Chris Ramsdale with the torch
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Cheryl Scotland-Wigg passes the torch to Steve Walton
Cheryl Scotland-Wigg passes the torch to Steve Walton
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Steve Walton with the torch
Steve Walton with the torch
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Steve Walton with the torch
Steve Walton with the torch
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Steve Walton with the torch
Steve Walton with the torch
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Steve Walton with the torch
Steve Walton with the torch
Andy Mcgowan
Andy Mcgowan
Louise Barnes
Louise Barnes
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Chris Ramsdale
Chris Ramsdale
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Cheryl Scotland-Wigg
Cheryl Scotland-Wigg
Cheryl Scotland-Wigg with Steve Walton
Cheryl Scotland-Wigg with Steve Walton
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Joey West, Sophie Swann, Holly Swann, Kayleigh Greening and Jorja West
Joey West, Sophie Swann, Holly Swann, Kayleigh Greening and Jorja West
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Chris Ramsdale carries the Olympic torch through Newmarket in July 2012
Chris Ramsdale carries the Olympic torch through Newmarket in July 2012
Chris Ramsdale passes to Cheryl Scotland-Wigg
Chris Ramsdale passes to Cheryl Scotland-Wigg

Over in Newmarket, the last stop before the torch reached Cambridge on day 50 of the relay, the occasion was described as a 'day that will live long in the hearts' of the estimated 15,000 people who turned out.

A report in the Newmarket Journal said: "Newmarket's place in the annals of sport is assured but on Saturday the town, whose people and horses have made it world-famous, took its place in the celebrations to mark the greatest show on earth."

"With pin-sharp precision the torch relay, with its six runners, made its way through the town from Noel Murless Drive, named to honour one of the town's most gifted trainers, past Fred Archer Way, remembering arguably the greatest jockey of them all, and into the High Street with its landmark clock tower," it added.

"Then, close to the site where once a royal palace stood, the crowd surged forward as Newmarket charity fundraiser Cheryl Scotland-Wigg took the torch for the penultimate leg of the relay."

She described carrying the Olympic torch and flame as a 'huge honour'.

What are your memories of the Olympic torch relay in Suffolk? Let us know in the comments