THE Olympic Torch could be heading to Scarborough in the run-up to next year’s London games.
The flame will arrive in the UK on May 18 2012 and will tour Britain for 70 days ahead of the games at the end of July.
Scarborough Council has submitted a document to Olympic bosses highlighting areas of cultural, historical and sporting significance across the area, as well as important landmarks, areas of natural beauty and major events. It will find out in June whether its bid has been successful.
Brian Bennett, the council’s head of tourism and culture, said: “If we are successful in obtaining the torch then we need to make the most of the opportunity to promote our borough on the international stage.
“We want to ensure that we showcase the most significant attractions within the borough.”
If successful the torch’s route could take in landmarks such as Oliver’s Mount, Peasholm Park and the recently renovated Open Air Theatre.
Retired boxer Paul Ingle, who represented Britain in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, said: “I think it would be brilliant to have the Olympic Torch in Scarborough. I’d definitely be out on the streets to see it.
“Scarborough already has an unbelievable amount of boxing talent, and this is the sort of thing that could inspire more youngsters to take up sport.
“The Olympics was the biggest thing in my amateur career. I boxed for England in European and World Championships but that topped them all.”
John Brownley, a coach at Scarborough Amateur Boxing Club, said: “We make reference to Paul boxing at the Olympics all the time. All of the lads have aspirations and it’s great for them to have a Olympian in town. It shows them that if you work hard, you never know.
“We’ve got lads on the fringes of the England squad and the Olympic Torch could be the type of thing that gives them an extra push.”
The route, which will be within an hour’s journey for 95 per cent of Britons, is due to be announced next year and organisers have said that a nomination process will be used to pick the 8,000 torch-bearers.
Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill said: “It will be a tremendous boost for the profile of Scarborough if we can get the torch to come through the town.
“I know a few towns have been concerned about the costs of security and road closures, but the needs to balanced against the possibility of getting regional and national coverage for the town and taking more people there.”
Freeman of the borough Sir Jimmy Savile, who owns a flat in Esplanade, said: “It was great for Scarborough when the royal baton passed through and I carried it for part of the way. Unfortunately, it was uphill. “The Olympic torch would be marvellous for Scarborough, especially if I could do the bit downhill.”
London 2012 bosses have said the aim was for the torch to visit different communities and cultures and draw people in to the games. It will also be used to showcase Britain’s towns, areas of outstanding natural beauty and sporting and cultural landmarks.
Chairman Lord Coe said: “We will be working closely with villages, towns and cities the length and breadth of the UK to ensure that as each community welcomes the Olympic flame, they do so in a way that is unique and special to their area.”
Scarborough Evening News