Peterborough prepares for events to mark Olympic flame visit

Route of the Olympic Torch Relay through Peterborough on 3rd and 4th July 2012. Graphic supplied
Route of the Olympic Torch Relay through Peterborough on 3rd and 4th July 2012. Graphic supplied
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Excitement is mounting as the people of Peterborough prepare for the Olympic torch’s much-anticipated arrival on 3rd July.

The city’s torchbearers are busy practising how to avoid an embarrassing trip while carrying the flame.

One of those selected is John Peake (87), from Stibbington, who was selected after he won a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics - the last time London hosted the Games.

He will carry the flame from the Gordon Arms pub in Oundle Road for around 300 metres.

Mr Peake said: “I am not looking forward to running the whole way - maybe I will do a jog at the start and end.

“It is all very exciting. I very much enjoyed being in the 
Olympics and am looking forward to seeing it in England again.

“My wife Elizabeth and our children Catharine Madgin and Christopher Peake will be watching. It should be fun.”

Kamal Hyman (18), from Yaxley, will carry it for one of the 300-metre stretches around Peterborough.

He has not yet been told what time or where his leg will start, but Kamal could not be more excited.

He said: “I’ve been watching the torchbearers on TV and am so excited. I’m just honoured to have been chosen.

“I’ve been going to the gym to practice my running - I don’t want to be the person who trips and puts it out.

“Lots of my mates have been joking about that.

“I saw people are selling their torches for £100,000 on eBay - I had planned to keep it for sentimental values but if that’s true I’ll have to consider selling it.”

Another torchbearer is Tony De Matteis (50) who was nominated by his daughter Sonia Nicholls for his 27 years of service at the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Station.

He said: “I am honoured to have been chosen to carry the Olympic Torch in the area I was born and to serve within the Peterborough Volunteer Fire Brigade.”

One city resident with experience of carrying the torch is 81-year-old Graham Lowndes - but he says there is much more pomp around the event this time around.

Then aged 17, Graham was one of the torchbearers as the flame made its way to the London Games.

He said: “It is going to be an incredible event. I don’t think it will be anything like it was in 1948.

“It wasn’t as professional back then. I never got thanked and the person who took the torch from me was supposed to take over at 7pm, but he 
didn’t turn up until about 10.30pm.

“I enjoyed it but I don’t think it has any comparison with what will be happening in Peterborough.

“I had hoped to carry the torch but I wasn’t selected.

“But best of luck to those who have - it’s a marvellous opportunity.”

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