Olympic snub averted

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After pressure from The Galloway Gazette, Olympic officials in London finally relented yesterday afternoon and said the Olympic torch would be seen in the streets of Stranraer and Cairnryan.

The Gazette had been told by a local authority official that, after the torch arrives by evening ferry from Northern Ireland on June 7, its next appearance would be on the streets of Ballantrae early the following morning.

The Gazette was told there was to have been an official welcoming ceremony at the ferry terminal when the torch arrives, but that the relay team would then keep the torch strictly under wraps until it reached Ballantrae – leaving the people of Wigtownshire left out of the celebrations.

The council official revealed the no show in Wigtownshire to members of the Girvan Community Council at a meeting this month but after the Gazette asked for confirmation of this from the London 2012 organisers, all went quiet.

The Olympic organisers yesterday denied this was the case but, when we inquired about when and where, they could not give us any answers. After three hours passed, the news came through that the torch would indeed be on the streets of Stranraer and Cairnryan for around 30 minutes at each venue.

Russell Brown MP said: “The eyes of the world will be on Stranraer and Cairnryan as the Olympic torch passes through the streets on June 8. With local torch-bearers carrying the flame, it will be our opportunity to showcase the very best of Galloway. The Olympic torch will be right on our doorstep, and the relay will be an exciting time as local people will be able to see the torch up close. I hope it will spark real enthusiasm for sport among young people in our schools and that we can use it to get more people interested in being active.

“I was overwhelmed by the response to our campaign to bring the torch to Galloway and there is real enthusiasm to see it here.”

In South Ayrshire the torch relay is already seen as a unique opportunity for local children to get involved in an international event and to boost tourism as the route will be televised. The torch will be carried through eight towns in South Ayrshire.

The flame will arrive in the UK on Friday, May 18, and get to London on Saturday, July 21, with the Olympic Games opening ceremony taking place on Friday, July 27.