June 20 2013 Latest news:
Robin Cottle, Reporter
Sunday, July 22, 2012
After months of preparation tens of thousands of people saw the Olympic torch come to Bexley in glorious sunshine.
It arrived via speedboat at around 4.15 this afternoon into Erith Yacht Club harbour and 30 people carried the torch through Bexley to Danson Park, where former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis lit the cauldron in front of a crowd of 20,000.
Over the course of the torch relay 8,000 people will carry it across the country.
Aaron Reynolds, 18, was the first person to carry the flame onto Bexley soil. He has been a member of the yacht club, which will benefit from Olympic legacy funding after the Games, since he was four.
He said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the torch into Bexley.
“The hard work Erith Yacht Club has put into the improvements have paid off and its great to be here.”
Lewis, who won Olympic gold with Canada in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, cut an imposing figure as he ran the torch through Danson Park.
The 46-year-old, who lived in Crayford back in the 1980s, told the Bexley Times: “This is a great area with wonderful people and it’s just how I remember it. It’s an honour to carry the torch onto the stage.
“This is right up there with being a boxing world champion and the energy of the crowd made it a great thing to be part of.”
The masses certainly enjoyed their opportunity to enjoy the sun and the occasion.
Angela Johnson, 49, saw the torch arrive at Danson Park. She said: “It’s been a fantastic day, great weather and entertainment and the community spirit has been superb.”
Her sister Paula Beadle added: “This is a unique opportunity and the grandchildren loved it.”
For a comprehensive round-up of the torch relay, see this week’s Bexley Times, out Thursday (July 26).