The route the Olympic Torch will take through Luton on the afternoon of Sunday 8 July and the morning of Monday 9 July has been confirmed.
The Olympic Flame will travel 8,000 miles across the length and breadth of Great Britain, and Luton Borough Council is delighted that it will pass through the town on the 51st and 52nd days of its journey.
On Sunday 8 July the relay in Luton starts in London Road at 6.12pm and progresses via Castle Street, George Street, Manchester Street, New Bedford Road and the Wardown Park pathway to Old Bedford Road and an evening celebration event at Popes Meadow.
On Monday 9 July the Torch sets out from St George’s Square at 6.39am and progresses via Manchester Street, George Street, Park Street, Castle Street and the A505 Chapel Viaduct to Dunstable Road, as far as its junction with Atherstone Road where this leg ends.
Full street-by-street details and proposed start times for when the Olympic Flame will travel through Luton can be viewed at www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelay.
Leader of the Council Hazel Simmons said: “The arrival of the Flame is always the traditional start of Olympic celebrations in the host nation.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the Flame and its inspirational Torchbearers to Luton and I am sure many local residents will line the route to cheer them on and take advantage of the biggest show on earth coming to Luton.”
Torchbearers in Luton include 29-year-old Simon Stothard and 17-year-old Hollie Baxter.
Simon, from Langdale Road, Dunstable, has cystic fibrosis and is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the life-limiting disease while encouraging fellow sufferers to make the most of their opportunities.
By way of personal example he has completed five sponsored marathons and climbed Ben Nevis as well as taking on cycling challenges, including riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End this summer.
He said: “There are varying levels of the condition and I’m just lucky that I’m able to do as much as I can. Just being nominated was a great surprise and honour.”
Hollie, from Luton, will use a wheelchair for life after being born with Rubenstein Taybi Syndrome and dislocating both patellas at the age of ten.
Mum Dawn said: “Hollie is an amazing young girl who never complains and inspires everyone who has the pleasure of meeting her.”
More Lutonians carrying the Torch through Luton include Stu King, 29, Helen Mcfarlane, 42, Babatunde Ajisola, 32, David Cole, 71, and Justin Joseph-Beeston, 40.
Other Torchbearers in Luton include Jacqueline Dowsing, 47, and Ben Jell, 33, from Dunstable, Kieran Jays, 12, from Houghton Regis, Emma Marks, 15, Matt Roche, 15, and Bruce Benedickter, 45, from Leighton Buzzard, Katrina Blunt, 33, from Pitstone, Kevin Lawlor, 54, from Hitchin, Gemma Collis, 19, from Aylesbury, Marcus Burnett, 13, from Bedford, Charlotte Ellis, 18, from Bedfordshire, Roger Crossley, 53 from Bampton, Tom Bennett, 54, from Oxford, Kyle Mandry, 48, from Menomonee Falls, Barry Funnell, 49, from Clapham and Rich Walsh, 22, from Berkhamsted.
Cllr Simmons added: “The route allows for thousands of people from the borough and further afield to see the Olympic Flame as it travels through Luton. I am sure we will see big crowds across the town.”
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, said: “The Flame symbolises the Olympic spirit and its journey around the UK will bring the excitement of the Games to our streets. Now the people know the route the Olympic Flame will be carried along and the Torchbearers for their community, they can start planning how they might celebrate and make it Luton’s moment to shine.”
An average of 115 Torchbearers a day will carry the Olympic Flame across the UK before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
LOCOG has worked closely with representatives from a number of sectors in each nation and region of the UK to devise the route and is taking the Olympic Flame to within ten miles of over 95 per cent of the population.
Luton Borough Council is working with LOCOG and the three Presenting Partners of the Relay – Coca Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung – to host an evening celebration on Sunday 8 July. The event at Popes Meadow will be free ticketed and feature locally programmed content. Details of the run of the show will be released over the next few months.
Schools across the UK can now access free learning resources linked to the Olympic Torch Relay through Get Set (london2012.com/getset), the official London 2012 education programme. The activities are designed to help schools and colleges make the most of the Relay by lining the route, and cheering on their local Torchbearers. Resources include ideas for making Flame hats and shakers to welcome the Flame, an assembly presentation to get the school behind a Torchbearer and a film showing one Get Set network school's preparations for the Relay.
After leaving Luton, the next leg of the Flame’s journey takes it through Dunstable.
Lutonians carrying the Flame elsewhere include Felix Malahoo, 47, through Welwyn Garden City, Kyle Hendrickson, 24, through Hatfield, plus Michael Swain, 22, and Rebecca Andrews, 14, through St Albans.