Sunday 8 July 2012

Olympic Torch, Saffron Walden. 7.7.12

If there is just one word that sums up the landmark event of the Olympic Torch Relay passing through Saffron Walden yesterday, then it is WET!

No amount of torrential rain dampened the spirits of the thousands of spectators who lined the route along Newport Road, London Road, down the High Street and ending along Bridge Street.

Spectators began putting their chairs out for prime road-side positions as early as 9am when the weather was looking promising. Even at 11am it was still playing at being a beautiful summer morning but oh how things can change in the space of an hour.

Having dressed for the weather at the time of departure, the crowds were starting to gather along Bridge Street by 11.30, oblivious to what was in store from the heavens.
By midday, the first umbrellas were starting to pop up as the drops of rain marked the beginning of over an hour unremitting rain and just at the time the torch convoy was due to pass through the town.

Rain bounced off the roads around the spectators as they waited for the torch to pass by, although a brief respite did come when umbrellas were wound up hopefully...

...and some celebratory high-fives were forthcoming.

However, it was brief, as it all started again just as the convoy rolled through town.

Somehow though, certain big corporate sponsors appeared a little out of place in the surroundings of this traditional market town.

Then came the cheer as the fourth and last of the Saffron Walden torch bearers came into view - just!
With the whole circus that accompanies the torch bearers, it was near impossible to gain a clear view for photographs until the second they actually passed in front of you.

However, I gave it a good try...

Still raining, but just not quite as hard, or own Clare Thompson did the town proud.

A member of the Walden Tri Club, Saffron Striders, a coach to the Ladies' Running Group (well recognised by the towns dog-walkers who often share the paths in the park with her ladies) and an inspirational runner, who prior to the London Marathon 2012, completed the 'Trolley Trot' - 45 miles to London in 7hrs 58 with 'Holdroyd', a specially adapted supermarket trolley that she wore all the way.

"No wind was really important, as Holroyd swings badly like a sail. Again the crowds were fantastic even though I had to correct someone that called out 'go on Sainsburys' to excuse me but I’m Waitrose!"

Going on to complete the marathon in 5hrs 04 raising money for The Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre, a charity with personal connections as her sister had been diagnosed with the condition.

Clare fully deserved her selection as torch bearer for Saffron Walden although she didn't make it onto the local evening TV news despite the array of photographers and camera crews who complete the torch route in reverse.

As Clare extinguished her torch and climbed aboard the Olympic Torch Relay Bus, the rain eased and the sun reappeared above the drenched spectators milling through the town streets on their way home to dry out and reflect on the fleeting and historical moment of the Olympic Torch passing through Saffron Walden

"Fantastic photos again. Thank you kindly."
Uttlesford District Council
(via Twitter)
"Lovely photos on your blog of the torch going though town :)"
(via Twitter)
 "Great photos but what weather you had."
(via Twitter)
"Fantastic photographs......really captured the spirit of the event...and the rain!"
(via Twitter)


  1. Captures what I love most about the Brits - never let a little rain (or a lot of rain in this case) spoil a good party! Great photos! Lauren

  2. Lovely pictures - despite the dreadful weather Still, people will always remember the day though won't they!

    Great one of Clare, with the flame coming out of the torch :-)


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