Olympic Torch Relay Portsmouth & Southsea
Portsmouth & Southsea was full to the brim yesterday. Not only was it the hugely popular Food Festival in Southsea but the much anticipated arrival of the Olympic Flame Torch Relay.
An estimated 40-50,000 people packed Southsea Common to see the relay events evening entertainment as well as the arrival of the Olympic Torch.
Estimates for the Portsmouth celebrations were around 60-70,000 which will be the biggest in the UK so far!
We managed to get a great view of the acts invited along including local dance crew Most Wanted, dancers Twist & Pulse and Rizzle Kicks.
Most Wanted did Portsmouth & Southsea proud and got a massive cheer from the large local crowd watching.
Local lad Jonathon Bamber was the last torch bearer of the day and was lucky enough to light the Olympic cauldron in front of the waiting crowd. Can I confirm also that Jonathan did not light this with his hand!
The only downside to the event for us was the over use of the sponsors and specifically the Lloyds TSB inspired bankers stage display involving various ‘street smart’ youths acrobatically jumping around the stage in green Lloyds TSB inspired colours.
Also the use of Sugar water that can make a 2 pence piece look like it’s fresh from the mint (remember that experiment as a child) as a Olympic sponsor still upsets me.
Local Sally Beken @scientificsally wrote us this segment on how she and her family experienced the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay to Portsmouth & Southsea, have a read below -
With so many local activities on this weekend it was hard to know which to choose but when I asked my kids what they wanted to do, seeing the Olympic Torch was top priority.
My daughter had even made her own torch (see picture) in excitement the previous evening!
We live just off Portsea Island so drove in early to avoid the rush and did a little shopping in Palmerston Road and soaked up some of the atmosphere of the Southsea Food Festival. I have never seen the area so busy, ever!
We then grabbed and early bite to eat at The White Horse pub on the edge of Southsea Common while the weather decided to come good and the sun appeared.
Most of Portsmouth and Southsea seemed to be out for the event so as the common became peppered with folks we decided to wait along Duisburg Way to get a good view.
It wasn’t long before it was lined 6 or 7 deep with eager onlookers! We waited over and hour sitting on the kerb but had fun bumping into a number of friends and being bestowed with freebies from various sponsors (Coke, Samsung and Lloyds TSB!).
The crowd was great, cheering periodically, straining necks and creeping into the middle of the road to get the first or better a view, the police would then periodically usher us amiably back too!
After numerous buses, vans, police escorts and supporting runners the Torch Bearer appeared. He was past us in a blink, tall and fit and holding The Torch high; but it was one of those moments I know my family and I will remember for much longer than its transit past us.
The Torch brought together so many for a moment to share, a symbol of community, citizenship, and fun.
Thanks to all you locals as well who got some amazing pictures of the day………….
@tracey7931 – #pompey #olympictorch @ Southsea Common
@danerusso – #olympictorch @ Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
@Ukuma – #southsea #olimpic #sky #skyporn #instagood #instagram #hipstergram #sunday #torch #flame #london2012
@Twist_PulseFans – @TwistandPulse & the Galaxy Street Crew just put on a brilliant show for 30,000 people on Southsea Common. #samsung2012
@rossburge: Olympic torch ariving at HMS Victory earlier
@Illobooth – Outstanding torch viewing tactics over in Southsea this afternoon
@lovesouthseaXX: Olympic torch runner!
@TwistandPulse – Just Performed To This Crowd In Portsmouth :O #INCREDIBLE
Where next for the torch?
The Torch Relay day started early this morning at Fratton Park, home to Portsmouth FC. John Jenkins, 92, a life-long Pompey supporter who has worked and volunteered at the stadium for more than 50 years, carried the flame inside the ground.
Today the torch will cover 94.7 miles, visiting Cass Sculpture Park and Arundel Castle on its journey from Portsmouth to Brighton and Hove.
The communities the torch will visit today are - Portsmouth, Petersfield, Rogate, Midhurst, Easebourne, Tillington, Petworth, Duncton, Chicheser, North Bersted, South Bertsted, Bognor Regis, Woodgate, Westergate, Arundel, Worthing, Lancing, West Blatchington and finishing for the evening in Brighton and Hove.