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Around 17,000 people are estimated to have taken part in community celebrations events across Eden District in Cumbria on 20 June, as the Olympic Torch Relay entered Cumbria at Brough, on Day 33 of its journey across the UK from York to Carlisle.
Community groups in Brough, Appleby, Penrith and surrounding areas started planning their celebration events earlier this year and the Olympic Torch Relay party started in Eden at Brough, with a mini Olympics event for local schools attended by around 500 children, which included an Olympic Torch from the Beijing Games.
The Torch Relay arrived in Brough at 4.03pm and was greeted by around 2,500-3,000 spectators, who cheered on Torchbearers Michael Hall and Ted Haughey. Following the Torch’s departure a tea party was held at Brough Memorial Hall.
Eden District Council Deputy Leader and Communities Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Robinson, said: “I was absolutely delighted with how the Olympic Torch relay celebrations went yesterday, the number of people turning out in our towns to see this once in a life-time event was extraordinary.
“The crowds of people in Brough, Appleby and Penrith created an excellent atmosphere for the Torchbearers and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the numerous community groups, schools and sports clubs who helped organise the local activities, your hard work was rewarded and showed our community at its best to a global audience. Praise should also go to the many volunteer stewards, Cumbria Constabulary and the County Council and District Council officers whose participation helped the events pass safely.”
The Torch Relay moved from Brough into Appleby and was greeted by an estimated crowd of 3,000 on The Sands and another 1,000 people spread across the town. From early afternoon a wealth of activities were organised by the local community to welcome the Torch from stilt walkers to Samba drums as local people welcomed Torchbearers including Bob Sutcliffe, Duncan Vaughan and Robin Webster. After the Torch a Community Tea Party was held at Appleby Bowls Club by Appleby Communities Acting Together (ACAT).
An estimated 10,000 people packed into Penrith to watch the Olympic Flame being carried through the town. The town centre area from King Street to Middlegate was closed to traffic for the occasion with community and sporting groups putting on a host of demonstration events, which were broadcast live by Eden FM. Sir Chris Bonigton attended the celebration activities with his Olympic Torch.
As the Torch Relay worked its way through the town from Bridge Lane to Pennyhill Park, a parade of local sports clubs, schools, church groups and the town band past through the town with accompanying banners cheered on by the huge crowds.
Chairman of the Penrith Torch Relay Steering Group Ron Kenyon said: “The Torch Relay celebrations in Penrith really showed what the town has to offer, the community spirit was fantastic with crowds cheering on the Torchbearers and the colourful procession. I would like to thank all of the local community groups and sports clubs who have worked so hard to organise this event with the support of the Police and the local councils.”