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Olympic torch heads for Chippenham, Calne and Marlborough
8:12am Wednesday 23rd May 2012 in Local
The bunting is up, the flags are out and the stage is set for the second leg of the Olympic torch relay through Wiltshire today.
Yesterday an estimated 30,000 people turned out to watch the lucky torch bearers, who were nominated for their service to their local communities, carry the Olympic flame through Southwick, Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon in glorious sunshine.
Today it is the turn of north Wiltshire and, after being stored overnight in Bristol, the convoy carrying the original flame lit in Greece, which is stored in a miner’s lamp, will set off.
It is scheduled to arrive in Bristol Road Chippenham at 9.46am from where six torch bearers will carry the flame through the Market Palce and the Causeway to London Road where the convoy will reconvene at 10.16am.
The next stop is Calne where it is due to arrive in Curzon Street at 10.45am where six torch bearers will carry it through New Road, London Road and Wessington Avenue to the A4 where the convoy is timetabled to leave at 11.07am.
The first of Marlborough’s four torch bearers is due to set off from Bath Road at 11.25am and carry the flame through the town’s High Street up Herd Street to the finishing point at the top of The Common at 11.44am.
Chiseldon is due to display the flame between 11.56am to noon, while Wroughton is due to have it from 12.07pm to 12.23pm.
The first of the five torch bearers in Royal Wootton Bassett are due to set off at 12.32 for a tour set to last until 12.47am, from where the convoy will head to Swindon and onto Cirencester.
One of the torch bearers in Royal Wootton Bassett is Olympian David Hemery, who won gold in the 1968 Olympic hurdles. He said that while he will be inordinately proud when he helps relay the Olympic torch through the town as soon as it’s over he will jump in his car and head back to his home town of Marlborough to catch the aftermath of the torch ceremony there.
All along Mr Hemery, vice chairman of the British Olympic Association, has said he would rather have been among the runners who will be relaying the flame through Marlborough just a couple of miles from his home at Fyfield.
He spent the weekend in the USA attending a school reunion in Boston, only returning yesterday.
Speaking from America, Mr Hemery said: “I don’t know what leg of the relay I will be running and we will all get told at 11 o’clock on Wednesday morning.
“I was originally told I would be taking part in Milton Keynes but I told them I live near Marlborough and would prefer to be within striking distance of my home.
"I am just glad I will be running somewhere in Wiltshire which is my home county and it will be a huge privilege.
“Because Royal Wootton Bassett has been honoured in the way it has with its royal title, in a way that will be so special to be taking part there.
“I am certainly both grateful and I feel privileged to be carrying what has become to be regarded as a sacred flame through a Wiltshire town even if it’s not the one I regard as my home town.”
Mr Hemery, the 1968 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and three times winner of the Superstar sporting contest, said he hoped people would remember the symbolism of the flame and the original intention of it bringing a truce between warring nations for the duration of the games.
“It would be nice for people to keep that in mind and to think that there is still an element of that about the Olympic flame when the focus of the world is on it,” said Mr Hemery.
He said: “I am looking forward to having the honour of being one of the people carrying the torch through Royal Wootton Bassett but as soon as I finish I will be jumping in my car and heading for Marlborough.”