The Culture Secretary has thanked the people of the South East for the fantastic support they have shown the Torch Relay as the Flame toured the region.
The Olympic Torch has spent eleven days in the region, taking in key cities such as Oxford, Milton Keynes, Portsmouth, Brighton and Guildford.
Jeremy Hunt said:
“The Torch has had a fantastic reception in the South East. Local people turned out in their thousands to welcome the Torch and cheer on the local heroes carrying it.
“The very best of the South East– from Oxford to the Chanel Islands – has been on show to a global audience. I hope this will bring lasting economic benefits to the region.
“I would like to thank everyone in the South East who made the Torch relay such a great success.”
As a way of marking the event, an image of the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent, has been chosen to illustrate GREAT, the international tourism campaign and, with a week to go, welcoming the world to the UK.
Oona Muirhead, the Chair of the South East Partnership and South East Nations and Regions Member for London 2012, commented:
“In the South East we have been working hard for the last six years on Games inspired activity, and on the last two in particular, on the Olympic Torch Relay.
“I’m delighted to see the fantastic response from local groups, agencies, local authorities, and every community that has lined the route to see the Olympic Flame carried by some of the most inspirational people and greatest athletes in the region, such as Sir Steve Redgrave. Hundreds of athletes have already arrived to train in the region and I am confident that the South East is truly ready to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
During the Olympic Torch’s eleven day tour of the South East of England, it visited 120 communities in the region. Some of the highlights of the relay included:
- Sailor Ellen MacArthur and Olympic Gold medallist sailor Shirley Robertson carrying the torch as it crossed to the Isle of Wight;
- Roger Bannister carrying the Flame at the Iffley Road stadium in Oxford where he ran the first four-minute mile in 1954; and
- Sir Steve Redgrave taking the Flame on to the Thames at Henley.
The Torch may be leaving the region but people across the South East are working to make sure the magic of London 2012 lives on in a variety of local projects inspired by the Games.
- Capture the Wave in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight helping school children with physical, sensory and learning difficulties to take up Paralympic sailing, swimming and rowing;
- Community groups in Oxfordshire learning how to play the Paralympic sport of Boccia through Boccia Revolution; and
- Driving Inspiration helping disabled artists and journalists work with schools across the UK and internationally to create a living archive for Stoke Mandeville, capturing the inspiration of Paralympians past and present.
Notes to Editors
- The GREAT image can be accessed at: http://goc2012.culture.gov.uk/flickr/great-britain-youre-invited/
- The GREAT campaign is designed to promote the UK abroad, and aims to deliver long-term economic benefits from the unprecedented level of interest generated by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The campaign aims to attract more than 4.6 million extra visitors to the UK by 2014.
- Read background and see the key facts about the GREAT campaign on our website.
- The Nations and Regions Group (NRG) is a joint team established by the London 2012 Organising Committee and the Government Olympic Executive, with a group in every nation and region. Each member of the NRG chairs a task force bringing together representatives of interested parties across their nation or region to help make the most of the Games in that area.
- View and embed our Tripline map following the torch relay around the UK: http://bit.ly/KvSTv0
- The Government Olympic Communication (GOC) provides an integrated press office service on behalf of all UK Government Departments and Agencies from the arrival of the Olympic Torch on 18 May to the end of the Paralympic Games on 9 September. Visit our news website at www.goc2012.culture.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter @2012govpress. For media enquiries call 020 7211 1700