London 2012: Tall ship carries Olympic flame to Dover

The torch also took a trip on the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos, which struggled into harbour in the inclement weather conditions
Image caption The torch was taken on the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos, which struggled into Dover Harbour in the inclement weather conditions

The Olympic flame travelled on a funicular railway and visited the entrance to the Channel Tunnel before sailing on a tall ship into Dover on day 61 of the torch relay .

The flame started the day at Battle Abbey, on the site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, before the railway trip.

Two Eurotunnel services were cancelled to allow the visit to the tunnel.

Evening celebrations were held on Dover seafront after a visit to the town's historic medieval castle.

The 97th torchbearer of the day, Graeme Faber, who was present at the 1948 Olympic opening ceremony in London as a small boy, lit the cauldron within view of the town's famous white cliffs.

The 76-year-old, who has climbed mountains, cycled across Mongolia, trekked in Nepal, run marathons and triathlons and raised funds for Water Aid and MacMillan Cancer Care, still runs every day.

Battle's town crier and mayor greeted Luke Lancaster and the torch at the start of the flame's 57-mile journey, but the relay began in earnest in Hastings.

Image caption A security officer held the flame on board a lifeboat when the official torchbearer became seasick

Torchbearer Daisy Shepherd took a trip up and down on the East Hill Cliff Railway, which has been in operation since 1903.

Other communities hosting the relay included Rye, Hamstreet, Ashford, Hythe, Sandgate, Folkestone and Samphire Hoe.

Heather Hale carried the flame at the entrance of the Channel Tunnel. The 33-year-old works with the Explorer Group, which takes young people overseas. She is a volunteer and kayak coach for Seapoint Centre where she teaches young people and adults with learning disabilities.

Another highlight saw the flame take a trip on a tall ship in the channel after being delivered by an RNLI lifeboat from Samphire Hoe. It was then due to be switched to a second lifeboat but bad weather prevented the handover and the tall ship had to struggle into harbour.

The flame later went to Dover Castle, built for Henry II in the 12th Century. One of the largest castles in England, it was preceded by an iron age fort and still houses a Roman lighthouse, which is one of the finest existing examples of its kind.

Other torchbearers on day 61 included:

  • Nathan Bailey, 18, a trampolinist from Bournemouth who works with local children in his community during the off-season.
  • Douglas Evans, 54, from Romney, a former European champion in Iaido - Japanese traditional swordsmanship - who works with wayward, aggressive individuals to help them channel uncontrolled energy.
  • Robbie Herbert, 15, from Deal, who was a promising footballer before being diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, a life-threatening heart problem. He still plays sport and encourages participation at all levels.

Some roads near Dover docks were closed when the flame passed through the town and one ferry line advised people to allow up to an hour extra to get to the port.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.