Fringe Box



Thousands See Olympic Torch Pass Through Guildford

Published on: 20 Jul, 2012
Updated on: 21 Jul, 2012

Guildford gave a tremendously warm welcome to the Olympic Torch as it was carried through the streets of Guildford on Friday evening.

Torchbearer Austin Playfoot salutes the crowds in Stoke Park. Picture by Mike Ellis of Gingercat Photography.

Thousands lined the streets, from the roundabout at the cathedral and on down The Chase and Guildford Park Road into the town, up the High Street on along London Road to Stoke Park.

At the park itself, some 25,000 people enjoyed a fantastic event with something for all ages groups. The highlight, was, of course, the sight of torchbearer Austin Playfoot, who came on to the stage and lit the special cauldron.

There were loud cheers from those who were lucky enough to get close to the stage itself and those watching on two giant TV screens.

The weather for once this summer was kind. The nine Guildford town torchbearers carried the flame along the relay route in bright sunshine to the delight of theose who lined the streets.

Torchbearer Lisa Roberts at the cathedral roundabout. Picture by David Rose.

The Olympic Torch convoy arrived at the cathedral roundabout from Godalming on time at 6.15pm. The torchbearer who took it from there was Lisa Roberts, 43, of Guildford. Other torchbearers included Harry Adolphus, Sandra Domizio, Emma Rudland, Kevin Capel, Major General Keith Spacie, Stefania Stroppiana and Veronica Whitehorn.

The crowd by the cathedral roundabout who gathered to see the Olympic flame arrive from Godalming. Picture by David Rose.

Guildford High Street was another spot crammed with people hoping to get a glimpse of the Olympic Flame. There was a changeover between torchbearers outside the Guildhall.

Many packed Guildford High Street to watch the torch relay. Picture by Martin Giles.

Inside Stoke Park, near to Jubilee Woods, torchbearer Ellie Messham, 28, linked up with 82-year-old Austin Playfoot.

Torchbearers Ellie Messham and Austin Playfoot in Stoke Park. Picture by David Rose.

Austin is becoming a bit of a celebrity ahead of the 2012 London Games. He carried the Olympic Flame when the games came to the UK in 1948. Back then he was a young amateur athlete and ran with the flame on the leg of its route from Merrow to Guildford.

With BBC TV and radio broadcasting live from Stoke Park, Austin was certainly the star of the show. Many in the media were keen to speak to him.

Lots of entertainment in Stoke Park. Picture by Martin Giles.

There was a wide range of entertainment at the Celebrating the 2012 Olymoic Torch event, hosted by Guildford Borough Council. There were community-led activities by Guildford’s youth festival StreetCLASH with live music, dance and arts performances.

There were also lots of sports activities for young people, plus more live entertainment on the main stage courtesy of pop band Rizzle Kicks.

They took to the stage before the torch arrived and certainly got the crowd going.

Main stage at the Celebrating the London 2012 Olympic Torch event in Stoke Park. Picture by Martin Giles.

Later in the evening the Olympic Flame left Stoke Park by a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter en-route to the Tower of London, where it remained overnight before the next stage of the relay that takes it to the games itself.

However, the fun in the park did not stop.  The pleasant warm evening meant that families stayed, many sitting on their fold-up chairs or rugs they had brought along, enjoying a drink and socialising.

Here are more pictures of the day’s events on Friday, July 20, 2012, including the crowds lining the route of the Olympic Flame and scenes in Stoke Park. Further reports and more pictures to follow…

The cauldron. Picture by Mike Ellis of Gingercat Photography.

Outside the Guildhall. Picture by Martin Giles.

One of the dancers in Stoke Park. Picture by Martin Giles.

Waiting for the Olympic Flame in Guildford Park Road. Picture by David Rose.

Is it coming yet? Picture by David Rose.

Waiting in Farnham Road. Picture by David Rose.

Free Coca Cola in Stoke Park. Picture by David Rose.

Share This Post

Responses to Thousands See Olympic Torch Pass Through Guildford

  1. Dave Peters

    July 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    A bit like the Tour de France…
    A long wait then the advertising lorries then it was gone!!