Olympic Torch: Hundreds take afternoon off work to watch Appleby arrival

Crowds lined the streets

Crowds lined the streets

First published in Olympics Torch The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

CIRCUS tricks, and exotic singers were part of Appleby's diverse festivities to welcome the Olympic torch.

A frenzy of excited children and business men and woman took the afternoon off to witness the historic event.

The iconic torch entered Appleby on day 33 of its relay at Bongate before travelling down The Sands and leaving by Appleby Grammar School.

From stilt walking and flag twirling to South African singers, there were a range of activities for crowds to revel in.

Member of the Appleby Coming Together Group, Alison Taylor said she was absolutely thrilled to have the torch come to Appleby.

“Appleby is an old county town of Westmorland and a very important, ancient town so it fits the bill tremendously for the torch to come through it.

“We just wanted everybody to have a lovely time and to have a big party.”

Scores of primary school children gathered along the main street with their homemade torches and flags.

Year Six pupil Emily Clark said she had preferred the torch celebrations to the Diamond Jubilee.

“There is just loads of stuff going on - everyone’s been really excited all day at school and I’m going to do a big cheer when the torch comes past.”

A procession of blue and white disco lights produced by police motorbikes led the way for beginning relay torchbearer 39-year-old Duncan Vaughan from Shap and second in line was Robin Webster of Grange-over-Sands.

All Robin’s family travelled from across the North West to see his big moment.

“It’s been an absolute party and the best day of my life apart from my wedding day.”

His wife Gill Webster said she was absolutely thrilled her husband was picked.

“He has been trying on his tracksuit all week and he describes it as his Elvis Presley suit because it’s all white.”

Keeping to the Jubilee theme, there was also a high tea organised for festival-goers at the town's bowling green.

There was also street entertainment, a balloon maker and hundreds of flags being waved along the way.

The torch slowly left the Eden town on route to Penrith before it's big musical spectacular evening in Carlisle.

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