Pupil pleased to see plane she named fly Olympic flame into UK
Ten-year-old Jessica, a pupil at Woolhampton Primary School, was one of hundreds of young people at schools and colleges in the London 2012 Get Set network to have entered the competition to name the British Airways A319 aircraft that would carry the Olympic Flame from Athens to RNAS Culdrose today, ahead of its 70 day journey around the UK.
More than a thousand entries to name the flame coloured aircraft were submitted and pupils from three different schools suggested the winning entry, The Firefly, with Jessica being one of them.
The other winners were Sana Hussain, age 13 from New Horizon Community School in Leeds, and Konika Verma, age 9 from Lower Fields Primary School in Bradford.
Engineers spent nine days and used 250 litres of gold, white and four shades of yellow paint to decorate the plane.
The airliner is due to touch down on the Culdrose tarmac around 7.30pm, with the official delegation on board - a select group of dignitaries who witnessed at first hand the flame burst in to life in front of the Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia, including British Olympic Association President and LOCOG Board Member HRH The Princess Royal, Chair of LOCOG Sebastian Coe, Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
London 2012 ambassador, David Beckham OBE, also attended the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony in Athens today and will be arriving on the flight.
The Olympic flame will then begin its historic 8,000-mile journey around the UK and will light up the streets of West Berkshire on Wednesday, July 11, with crowds expected to line the route to cheer on the Olympic torch relay and torchbearers from the local area.
The West Berkshire councillor responsible for coordinating the event, Carol Jackson-Doerge (Con, Burghfield), has said: “This will be a tremendous occasion that will help put West Berkshire on the national stage in this momentous year.
“I encourage as many people as possible to watch the spectacle of the Olympic Torch Relay, and cheer on the local torchbearers.”
On July 11, at approximately 10.20am, the flame will be carried along Theale High Street from the ‘Theale’ roadsign at the eastern end of the village, to the junction with St Ives Close, arriving there around 15 minutes later.
Starting at about 10.45am, the torch will then be carried along the A4 through Thatcham, starting at the junction with Stoney Lane and finishing around 11.10am at the Benham Hill roundabout.
Minutes later, other torchbearers will carry the flame through Newbury, beginning outside the BP filling station on the A4 opposite the Narrow Boat pub. The route goes round the Robin Hood roundabout, along the London Road to the clock tower at the top of Northbrook Street, down Northbrook Street, through Market Place, left into Bear Lane, finishing around 11.35am at the A339 roundabout.
Between each location, the flame and personnel will be transferred in enclosed vehicles. The flame is coming through West Berkshire en route between Reading and Salisbury.
The sports commentator and television presenter, Kingsclere-born Clare Balding, is to carry the Olympic flame through Newbury.
For more on this story, see next week’s Newbury Weekly News.