Torch hits Lancashire

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Large crowds with waterproofs and umbrellas turned out to greet the Olympic torch as it paraded through the streets of north Lancashire.

Torchbearer Vikki Brier from Heysham posed with the torch at the Eric Morecambe statue on Morecambe’s seafront with the local Morecambe MP David Morris and Mayor Sheila Denwood to great cheers of “Hip-hip-hooray!”

Matthew Prior carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Carnforth and Morecambe.

Matthew Prior carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay leg between Carnforth and Morecambe.

The Olympic convoy – with loudspeakers playing the song Singing in the Rain – arrived in Morecambe town centre led by police at around 11.30am on Friday.

Earlier it stopped at Morecambe town hall after coming into the resort via Hest Bank and Bolton-le-Sands.

Crowds lined the promenade despite the driving rain.

The torch had entered the district at Carnforth at around 9.45am on Friday morning and was heading for Lancaster for a stop at the town hall at around 3pm.

Dave Watson, who is carrying the torch between Scotforth Road and Barton Road in Lancaster, said: “It’s amazing, I think I’m dreaming. I was training for the 2012 Paralympics discus but I got a shoulder injury.

“This year I get to carry the Olympic torch but who knows in 2016, I might win a gold medal.”

The torch was due to head to Garstang before ending up in Blackpool Friday evening. The torch will then pass through Preston at 7.53am on Saturday.

Hundreds of people lined Garstang High Street for the arrival of the torch, despite torrential rain and strong winds battering the town.

Youngsters from local schools donned Olympic tunics under their plastic rain ponchos and waved Union flags from the pavement.

Shoppers and residents huddled in shop doorways and under a sea of umbrellas to await the arrival of the Olympic cavalcade at 2.30pm.

Police motorcyclists led a stream of brightly coloured lorries from sponsors, each blaring loud pop music to rally the crowd’s spirits.

Three Garstang teenagers, Laura Addison, Bethany Helm and Mateo Sanderson, were among the torchbearers, waving enthusiastically to the spectators who blew on whistles as they appeared in their white Olympic tracksuits.

Street entertainers Mr Stretch and Mr Armstrong from Bread and Butter Theatre Company ran along the High Street, dressed in shorts and headbands, having their photos taken with spectators, telling jokes and getting youngsters to get a round of cheers going.

Mr Armstrong said: “It’s been lovely. When we started there weren’t many people here but it built and built over the afternoon. People were really excited.”

Mr Stretch said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

FOR THE TORCH IN PRESTON DO NOT MISS SATURDAY’S SPECIAL LATE EDITION OF THE LEP