Community ideas wanted for arrival of Olympic torch

RESIDENTS are being asked to come up with ideas to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay to Newbiggin.

A public meeting is being held on Wednesday, January 18, at 7pm in the sports and community centre.

Town council chairwoman, Coun Rebecca McCready, said: “This is the first opportunity for us to pool ideas and plan our summer.

“I hope we can build on our already busy summer calendar of events to have a truly spectacular and varied series of activities that everyone can get involved in and that will bring tourists to our vibrant town.

“Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you are planning Olympics-related or other summer events this year or wish to get involved or contribute in some way.”

Newbiggin has put itself on the world sporting map of late with events such as its triathlon, in which competitors swim 750m in the bay, cycle 23km and run 5.2km along the promenade.

The 2011 competition was a qualifier for this year’s World Championship in Israel.

Last June, almost 160 competitors from 20 countries took part in the European Junior Powerlifting Championships at Newbiggin Sports Centre. The event was hosted by Ashington’s Parkhead and Wansbeck Power Sports Club.

The torch is due in Newbiggin on June 15.

After Newbiggin the torch will go to Choppington, Morpeth, Hartford, Bedlington and back to the coast at Blyth.

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “The Olympic flame will shine a light right across Northumberland, celebrating the culture and heritage of the area and showcasing the very best of the county.”

“We have no doubt that the welcome Northumberland will provide will demonstrate how the spirit of the Olympic Games is reaching out across the UK and excitement builds as the start of the 2012 Games draws closer.”