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Olympic torch: Thames trip on royal barge Gloriana on relay's final morning

Category: England

Published: 26th Jul 2012 21:06:02

The Olympic flame is to be carried in splendour on the River Thames on the final morning of the torch relay.

It starts the day at Henry VIII's spectacular seat, Hampton Court Palace where it will negotiate the maze before boarding the royal rowbarge Gloriana.

A team of oarsmen and women will transport the flame down river in a cauldron to Tower Bridge.

The relay ends late in the evening with the lighting of the Olympic cauldron during the Games' opening ceremony.

That moment will mark the final stage in a 70-day, 8,000 mile journey which began at Land's End on 19 May.

The very first torchbearer in Cornwall that day was Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie.

At the other end of the relay, the identity of the person who will light the Olympic Cauldron in the stadium remains a closely guarded secret.

Day 70 begins in Bushy Park, once the playground of royalty, now on the route of the London 2012 cycle road races.

There, young basketball player Rosie Hynes, from Failsworth in Lancashire is the first torchbearer of the day.

The relay then crosses into Hampton Court Palace, itself an Olympic cycling venue, where torchbearers will take it around the grounds and through the 18th Century maze.

Four times Olympic rowing gold medallist Matthew Pinsent is the final torchbearer at the palace and at about 07:30 BST the flame will be carried through the Great Gate and taken on board Gloriana.

The £1m royal barge, which led the river pageant during the Diamond Jubilee in June, will be rowed by 16 crew, who will be chosen from a squad of 28 on-board rowers on the day. The squad is made up of former British Olympic rowing crews going back to the 1948 Games as well as future Olympians and includes Games gold medal winners James Cracknell and Jonny Searle.

The on-board bell will ring for three minutes from 08:12 BST as part of the national celebration for the London 2012 Festival, which hopes as many bells as possible across the country will be sounded at the same time to mark the opening of the Games.

A ceremonial cauldron will be lit on board Gloriana and seven young torchbearers will take it in turn to carry a torch on the barge over the course of the morning.

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The first six are Akosua Scantlebury, 25, who works with youth clubs and who will carry the flame past Richmond Riverside, junior rower Anastasia Chitty, 18, who takes it in Chiswick, Nathalie Murphy, 25, who makes fundraising films and takes the flame at Putney, football coach Terry Bobie Agyekum, 20, whose turn comes at Battersea Park, weightlifter Jimmy Hazard, 19, who takes it past Parliament and the London Eye and Yusuf Jimacale, 21, who works with a community football programme and will carry his torch from Millennium Bridge.

The final torchbearer of the whole relay will be 22-year-old basketball player Amber Charles, who played a key role in London's winning bid and who will carry the flame in front of City Hall and Tower Bridge at approximately 12:45 BST.

Gloriana will be accompanied by a small number of craft "designed to showcase London's waterborne heritage both in sport and commerce," say organisers.

The flotilla will pass through Teddington Lock at about 08:30 BST, followed by:

The flame will then go into City Hall and remain there before the last leg of its journey towards the Olympic Stadium and the opening ceremony.

Seb Coe, chairman of Games organisers Locog, said: "Support for the torchbearers has been immense with over 13 million people lining the streets across the UK cheer them on.

"Thank you to each and every person for giving the Olympic Flame such a magnificent welcome and celebrating the best of the UK with us."

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BBC News, 2012. Olympic torch: Thames trip on royal barge Gloriana on relay's final morning [Online] (Updated 26th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1442965/Olympic-torch-Thames-trip-on-royal-barge-Gloriana-on-relays-final-morning [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]

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