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Festival of Suffolk's torch relay for Queen's Platinum Jubilee sets off from Brandon today



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The Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay, part of a summer of events to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, started this morning from Brandon.

The torch, which will take on a 588-mile rickshaw journey going through 250 county communities over three weeks, set off from the town's market square.

Nominated local heroes and members of the community are the torch-bearers alongside the Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Framlingham Rickshaw teams who will transport the torch around the area.

Tim Holder, from the Suffolk Community Foundation, said: "It has just been such a #teamSuffolk effort to make this all happen and the torch relay is the thing that really will shine a light on things that everybody has been trying to achieve, whether it is the headline events for the festival or down into the grassroots of communities. It is just wonderful."

"I am so inspired by the passion of Mark Brennan (torch relay organiser), all of the rickshaw riders and all of the people who have come together to make this happen. It is also the parish councils, the people in the communities and our volunteers who are making things happen as the torch arrives in their areas - also the hundreds of community heroes who will be holding the torch from today into the ring into The Suffolk Show on June 1."

The first torch-bearer was the chairman of Brandon Town Council, Samuel Skinner, who said he felt extremely privileged and honoured to be involved.

Councillor Samuel Skinner, front left, and Andrew Dean, front right, who were the first torch bearers for the route.
Councillor Samuel Skinner, front left, and Andrew Dean, front right, who were the first torch bearers for the route.

He said: "I just feel this relay is really going to bring people together for the Platinum Jubilee and obviously with it ending at the Suffolk Show, that is great too, as that is also a great showcase of Suffolk.

"We do not get too many things like this in happening in Brandon, so it is nice to have something that puts us on the map. I feel proud of the town for it being chosen as the start point and the coverage it brings is also helpful for the town."

The second person who received the torch, was Andrew Dean from Weeting, a Year 10 student from IES Breckland School, in the town's Crown Street.

The torch will tour 250 of Suffolk's main towns and villages. Picture: Festival of Suffolk.
The torch will tour 250 of Suffolk's main towns and villages. Picture: Festival of Suffolk.

He said: "It is quite an honour to have been chosen out of around 500 students and to be the one to come and take the torch is just brilliant."

The route tomorrow will see the torch go through Newmarket, Moulton, Gazeley, Lower Green, Higham, Middle Green, Upper Green, Barrow, Little Saxham and Horringer.

On Sunday, it will be the chance of Bury St Edmunds, Fornham St Martin, Fornham All Saints, Risby, Flempton, West Stow, Culford, Ingham, Ampton, Great Livermere, Troston, Honington and Sapiston.

At its final destination at the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park in Ipswich, on June 1, the torch will be greeted by Lady Clare Euston, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, and a huge pageant of more than 450 young people, NHS and emergency service workers, and the military. The Red Devil Parachutists, marching bands and an RAF flypast will add to the occasion.

To find out more about the Festival of Suffolk and to track the journey of the torch, go to www.festivalofsuffolk.org.