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Olympic torch comes to Bexley

PUBLISHED: 14:34 27 July 2012

Lennox Lewis lights the cauldron in Danson Park

Lennox Lewis lights the cauldron in Danson Park

LOCOG/Press Association Images

More than 70,000 people saw the Olympic torch come to Bexley in glorious sunshine on Sunday afternoon.

Torchbearer James XuTorchbearer James Xu

Aaron Reynolds, 18, was the first person to carry the flame on to Bexley soil at Erith Yacht Club to rapturous applause. He has been a member of the club since he was four and travelled with the flame across the Thames via speedboat.

The torch made its way past Hall Place, through Bexleyheath and towards Danson Park, where former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis lit the cauldron in front of a 20,000-strong crowd.

Aaron said: “Carrying the torch into Bexley truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It’s great to be here and shows the hard work of the club, which is receiving Olympic legacy funding, has paid off.”›››

Torchbearer Sarah-Louise CareyTorchbearer Sarah-Louise Carey

The borough had 31 torchbearers for the eight- mile route including the boxing champ.

Mr Lewis, who won Olympic gold representing Canada in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and lived in Crayford in the late 1980s, said: “This is a great area with wonderful people. It’s an honour to light the torch here and I was almost floating when I carried it up to the stage.

“This is right up there with winning the heavyweight title, and the energy of the crowd made it a great occasion to be part of.”

An evening celebration hosted by Olympic sponsors took place before and after the end of the relay in Danson Park.

Torch relay crowdsTorch relay crowds

Hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks and Britain’s Got Talent runners-up dancers Twist and Pulse, who hail from Bexley, were the star attractions.

Torchbearer Len Arnold, co-owner of the Europa Centre in Crayford which is getting Olympic legacy cash, said: “This is unbelieavble. I want to thank every single person for coming out. I was very, very lucky to have been chosen.”

Erith Yacht Club Commodore Geoff Piggott said: “This is a landmark in the club’s 112 year history. The day went really well after months and months of preparation.”

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