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Once-in-a-lifetime spectacle for all
Thursday, 31 May 2012
Torch bearer Kevin Phillipson in Staunton.
THE normally quiet streets of Maisemore, Hartpury, Staunton and Corse were packed with throngs of people who came to see the Olympic Torch come through on its way to London.
People started arriving around two hours before the torch was due last Thursday to get themselves a good spot to watch from.
They were joined by school children from around the Forest who arrived in buses to witness the once in a lifetime event.
After a circus of sponsor vehicles with music and cheerleaders had passed, the crowds cheered torch bearer Kevin Philipson as he jogged through Staunton.
The Tewkesbury man had been nominated by the Mid-Counties Co-op for his loyalty and dedication to his work.
After he had passed, villagers said they were pleased they had made the effort to muscle through the crowds to watch the spectacle.
Joyce Scott found the event very moving, although she almost didn’t go.
“I thought it would be a flash in the pan so originally I wasn’t going to come,” said Joyce, who lives in the village.
“It turned out to be absolutely amazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I’m so glad I didn’t miss it as we won’t see anything like it again.”
John Sullivan, who arrived at the event immaculately turned out in a suit and bowler hat, said the event was great fun.
“It’s nice that everyone came and took part – what people take away from the occasion is what they make of it,” he said.
“I thought I’d come along in a bowler hat to celebrate the Englishness of the occasion – it raises a smile!”
John Proctor, from Malvern, came to Staunton to watch the flame on Thursday before seeing it again going through his home town the following day.
“It was a little difficult to see the torch bearer at first because of the buses in front of him but it was fine when he came into view,” he said.
“It was a grand occasion and there was a lovely village atmosphere.”
Staunton Post Office sub postmaster Jay Andrews opened the village shop an hour earlier than usual and said trade was about 50 per cent up.
He said: “I had big expectations and it was just as good as I thought it was going to be. I was really impressed and we had lots of locals in, as well as some fresh faces.”
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