England

Olympic 2012 torch relay heads to Liverpool and Chester

The Olympic torch will stop overnight in Liverpool and Chester on its way to the London 2012 Games.

As part of the Olympic torch relay, the flame's visit to Liverpool on 1 June, 2012 will be marked with a special celebration at the Pier Head.

The torch, which will spend 70 days on the UK relay, will earlier be carried through Chester, on 29 May 2012.

It will reach the Olympic Stadium in London for the opening ceremony on Friday 27 July.

Liverpool City Council leader, Councillor Joe Anderson, said: "Liverpool is a city world-renowned for its sporting prowess and it's fitting we have been selected to take part in this prestigious event.

Lit by sun

"The city is no stranger to hosting high profile sporting events in many fields including tennis, badminton, netball, golf and sailing, and we're proud that the city is part of the warm-up to the world's greatest sporting competition.

"We're already looking at ways to celebrate the arrival of the torch in the city, but what we can say at this stage is that it will be a memorable evening during which our communities can become part of the buzz around the Olympic Games."

The torch arrives in the UK on 18 May and will be carried across the country by 8,000 torch bearers.

Details of the nominations process for torch bearers will be revealed on Wednesday.

Liverpool swimmer Steve Parry, who won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, said the torch relay offered everyone a chance to be involved in the Games.

"We've got to get over the North/South divide I think, and embrace the Olympic Games and 250 countries coming to Great Britain to take part in what is the biggest sporting event in the world.

'Part of history'

"We all know someone who has done something fantastic in sport.

"In Liverpool and Merseyside we've got so many volunteers. I've been fortunate enough to work with many of them.

"There's going to be 8,000 people who get to carry the Olympic torch. It's a part of history, something that you'll never get to do again."

The Olympic torch is lit by the sun in Olympia, Greece in a traditional ceremony before it heads to the UK to start the journey from Land's End, Cornwall.

The torch is used to light the Olympic flame which marks the start of the Games and burns for the duration.

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