Sandwell welcomes Olympic Torch announcement
Published on 8th November 2011
Community leaders and sporting stars in Sandwell welcomed the news that the Olympic Torch will pass through three towns in the borough on June 30 next year.
People joined together at the Olympic-supported AdiZone outdoor gym at Victoria Park, Smethwick, this morning to hear a special announcement by town crier Adrian Holmes and Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper. A dhol drummer played to mark the occasion.
Those celebrating included charity marathon runner Blind Dave Heeley and Sandwell's Mayor Councillor Joyce Underhill, as well as future Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls from the borough.
Pupils from nearby Victoria Park Primary School, named as an outstanding school by Ofsted just two weeks ago, played games put on by Sandwell Leisure Trust and Sandwell Council's 5 x 30 Time to Get Active programme.
Oldbury, West Bromwich and Smethwick are three of over 1,000 villages, towns and cities named today by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) as places through which the Olympic Flame will pass.
The Flame is carried by torchbearers during the 70-day Olympic Torch Relay, which is presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung.
People can find out more information about LOCOG's announcement and view an interactive map.
In making the announcement, town crier Adrian Holmes made the following proclamation:
"Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
Good people of the borough of Sandwell,
I have news to impart, so let me tell.
Today, the 7th of November we hear of the towns by name,
Through which will pass the Olympic Flame.
The towns in the borough that will take part,
Will be close, I am sure to everyone's heart.
Let it be known that on the 30th of June next year,
For Oldbury, West Bromwich and Smethwick we will cheer.
Congratulations to the towns chosen now go forth and tell,
That the Olympic Flame will travel through our beloved Sandwell.
God save the Queen."
Councillor Cooper said today was the start of Sandwell's celebrations in the build up to what would be "an historic moment" on June 30 next year. And he said the Olympic Torch represented "hope and light for all".
He pointed to the AdiZone at Victoria Park as an example of how the Olympics was already benefiting the borough. It was partly funded by adidas in their role as an Olympic sponsor.
The Mayor Councillor Underhill said: "It's great to see so many people at Victoria Park to celebrate the fact the Olympic Torch is coming through Smethwick, Oldbury and West Bromwich. It's very positive news for the borough. Sandwell now feels part of the Olympic Games."
Blind Dave Heeley, from West Bromwich, best for his charity marathon challenges, said: "It's absolutely brilliant and shows that the whole country is part of the 2012 Games. I am so proud that the Torch is coming to Sandwell."
West Bromwich triple jumper Tannika Burgess, a member of Sandwell Girls Athletics Squad and a hopeful for the 2016 Olympics, said: "It's amazing! It's a really good opportunity for people to see first hand what the Olympics is bringing to the UK. The Torch is going through my home town - I'll definitely be there to see it."
Fellow squad member Ann Ika-Oqua said: "It's very exciting and this will raise awareness of sport and how sport is good for you."
Smethwick runner and swimmer Mandy Warner, from Special Olympics Sandwell, said: "It's really good news and hopefully it will encourage people to be more active and more healthy in life."
Sandwell Shadow Youth Cabinet co-chair Mohammed Rohim said: "It's great to have a positive thing like this for the area. People from across the community can join in the celebrations."
Oldbury-based triatlete Jodie Stimpson is hoping to represent Great Britain in the 2012 Games and trains at Sandwell Leisure Trust-run Langley Swimming Centre.
She said it was amazing to hear the Torch would be coming through her home town and hoped it would attract more attention to the triathlon and sport in general in Sandwell.
The street by street detail of the route will be announced next year, and final torchbearer places will start to be confirmed from February onwards.
More information on London 2012 related activity in the West Midlands.