To mark the end of a very unique journey, a replica 1948 Torch which has been carried almost 80 miles by sea, is to be gifted from Torbay Council to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) next week (Tuesday 10 July).
The Torch has travelled by water from Torquay all the way to the Olympic and Paralympic sailing venue as part of the 1948 Sailing Relay and has visited 16 sailing clubs along the way.
“We are overwhelmed with the response we have had from this Relay. Since it began in Torbay on 20 May, sailing clubs across the coast have been holding the most fantastic celebrations with sailors and windsurfers of all ages welcoming it and sailing alongside side it, as it travels from venue to venue” ” explains Tony Wood, RYA Regional Development Officer in the South West who has been instrumental in organising the event.
During Jubilee weekend, hundreds of people passed the Torch along Topsham’s ‘long table’ which stretched right around the village. In Exmouth people came out in force to witness a spectacular send off when the Torch was relayed by dozens of adults and children to a waiting cruiser and pupils at Sidmouth College took part in their own mini torch relay at school! During the 1948 Sailing Relay hundreds of school children were able to experience a piece of Olympic Sailing history.
“In the South West there is such a wonderful local connection to the 1948 Olympic Sailing Events which took place in Torquay and this Relay has been a truly fantastic opportunity to showcase the 1948 Torch once again and to celebrate our sailing heritage” Tony concluded.
The Major of Torbay, Gordon Oliver will be officially presenting the Torch to Chairman of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Edward Leask, on the final day of the Relay at 12:30pm at WPNSA.
Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, said: “Torbay has strong links with the Olympics with the 1948 sailing events being held in Torquay. The Olympic flame was brought from London to Torre Abbey Meadows and the closing ceremony was observed by over 10,000 spectators.
“This year, Torbay marked the Olympic Torch Relay with many great celebrations including the replica Torch relay setting sail from Torquay for Weymouth. It gives me the utmost pleasure to hand over the replica Torch which symbolises all the wonderful elements of the Games from 1948 right through to today.”
Chairman of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy Edward Leask commented:
“The 1948 Sailing Relay is incredibly symbolic to us at the Academy. It reminds us of the responsibility we have to the Games and to all of those who are competing in them, as well as all of the hard work that we have all done to get to this point. We look forward to keeping the Torch safe alongside the 2012 Olympic Torch so that we can display them in the 2012 UK Olympic sailing venue.”
The 1948 Sailing Relay Torch has visited the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, Paignton Sailing Club, Brixham Yacht Club, Babbacombe Sailing Club, SeaSports SW, Teignmouth Corinthian Yacht Club, Starcross Yacht Club, Topsham Sailing Club, Lympstone Sailing Club, Exmouth Sailing Club, Sidmouth Sailing Club, Beer Sailing Club, Axe Yacht Club, Lyme Regis Sailing Club, Castle Cove Sailing Club, Weymouth Sailing Club, Osprey Training Centre and SailLaser.
The 1948 Sailing Relay is part of the nationwide initiative Sail for Gold which aims to bring the excitement of London 2012 as close to home as possible for everyone know matter where they live.
For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/sailforgold