It’s game on as county gets set for Olympic flame’s arrival

Olympic Torch Relay banners at Rotary Way, Blyth.
Olympic Torch Relay banners at Rotary Way, Blyth.
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A WEBSITE has been created to help people keep track of the Olympic torch as it makes its way through south east Northumberland tomorrow.

Residents, schools and businesses will be able to log on to see where the Olympic flame is as it heads through the county via Berwick today and through the south east of the county tomorrow.

Olympic Torch Relay banners at Rotary Way, Blyth.

Olympic Torch Relay banners at Rotary Way, Blyth.

The website – developed by Northumberland County Council – will keep people up to date on the torch’s progress and related road closures.

The flame is scheduled to arrive in Ashington at the town’s rugby club at 8.42am tomorrow, heading along Morpeth Road then Station Road on its way to Newbiggin.

The torch relay will then make its way down Woodhorn Road and Front Street in Newbiggin between 9.07am and 9.26am before heading back to Ashington along Newbiggin Road en route to Stakeford.

It will then pass through Choppington and Guide Post from 9.58am to 10.24am before making its way through Morpeth town centre from 10.34am to 10.48am.

The torch relay will pass through Hartford, from 11.17am to 11.22am, before heading into Bedlington.

Bedlington’s Front Street will be closed to traffic for a community event to welcome the torch as it passes through the town from 11.26am to 11.37am.

The flame will then head into Blyth at 11.42am, going along Cowpen Road and Renwick Road, stopping at 12.39pm at Blyth Sports Centre. It will then depart at 1.42pm, heading along Rotary Way at 1.54pm.

Council officials are reminding residents and those who want to see the flame that there will be temporary road closures and a rolling road block – featuring a 40-vehicle convoy – around the Olympic torch.

Nigel Walsh, head of the Olympic torch team at the council, said: “It is absolutely fantastic that Northumberland has the torch over three days, and the communities en route are planning a variety of celebrations to welcome the Olympic flame.

“Understandably, an event of this size cannot be put on without some disruption to the road network.

“We will be trying to minimise these impacts, but the reality is that the convoy will be moving at walking speed while the torch is being carried.

“The majority of closures will be rolling. This means that the road will close just prior to the torch convoy arriving and will reopen straight afterwards.

“It is hoped that any disruption will be very temporary, but no vehicles will be able to join or cross the highway while the convoy is moving in the direction of travel.

“In addition, for safety reasons, in Bedlington and Morpeth, where thousands of young schoolchildren are due to line the route, there will be complete road closures in place with diversionary routes advertised.

“Those who are able to walk or take public transport to see the torch, are being asked to do so to help avoid any congestion.”

Lamp-post banners have been put up in towns and villages ahead of the torch’s arrival indicating the stretches of road it will be carried along.

South east Northumberland’s torchbearers include Blyth’s Alan Hoyle and Les Welsh, Ashington’s Roly Sanderson and Logan Jones, Choppington’s Bill Ogilvie and Rachael Charlton, and Cramlington’s April Murphy and Carl Greaves.

The website also provides information on Olympic-inspired events taking place around the county in the run up to, and during, the games.

For more information, visit the site at www.northumberland.gov.uk and follow the Olympic link from the home page.

The authority is also aiming to use Twitter over the three days the torch is in Northumberland, tweeting pictures of it en route.

Residents and business can send the county council images of the torch or activities taking place along the route, adding the hashtag ‘#NlandTorch’ for the authority to re-tweet via its @EventsNE account.

Photos and messages can also be sent via the council’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/northumberlandevents