12:35pm Friday 22nd June 2012
By Stephanie Manley
HUNDREDS of sodden school children, residents and workers lined the streets of Milnthorpe this morning to cheer on the Olympic torch as it made its last appearance in South Lakeland.
After touring Kendal, the iconic flame was transported to the Cumbrian village where it was greeted by a sea of umbrellas and high-spirited supporters.
Sally Read, of Milnthorpe, was out in the rain despite just finishing a night shift. She said: “I think it’s good that everyone has come out today. We are bringing residents of Hartland House to watch – I don’t know why you wouldn’t when it’s here.”
And Nancy Jex, of Arnside, was similarly impressed with the turnout: “I think it is amazing that everyone is here in the rain. We have walked from Storth to get here, but I am glad we did, it’s a one-time opportunity,” she said.
But for one Milnthorpe man, this was not the first time he had seen the town in such merriment. Roger Bingham said he had seen every single parade through the streets since 1945. He explained: “The first I remember was the celebrations at the end of World War Two, and as a boy scout I can recall coming out here like this when the Queen visited in 1956.”
Local sportswoman Susan Goodfellow, 42, carried the flame into the town, where she passed on the honour to 73-year-old table tennis coach Kenneth Richardson, of Carnforth.
He then ran to the crossroads, where Bradford man Alexander Kupse was ‘really excited’ as he awaited his big moment.
Children from primary schools including Milnthorpe, Arnside, Burton-in-Kendal and Storth merrily waved their Olympic flags throughout the procession, and those from Storth had an extra special reason to be joyous.
Teacher Louise Marston said: “We had a really good view of the young man carrying the torch, but we also got to wave to our teaching assistant Susan who had done her bit already.
“The children all had a fantastic time and it was well worth standing out in the rain.”
Tim Farron MP was also watching on with his children, and was proud to be witnessing the occasion in his home town. He said: “Nothing beats being in your own community for something like this, and I started to well up a bit. For those few minutes Milnthorpe really was the centre of the universe.”
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