Guard of honour for the torch
Published at 21:34, Wednesday, 27 June 2012
THE Olympic flame was greeted in Gretna by excited crowds on its final journey through Scotland last Thursday.
Dumfries was the first community to cheer on the torch relay as it departed from Burns Statue and then made its way through Annan and Eastriggs.
Among those making the most of this historic moment in Gretna were schoolchildren from Canonbie and Langholm.
They made a guard of honour with their flags as they cheered the first torch bearer Calum Graham, 39, of Canonbie and Aileen Grant, 31, of Langholm who ran the final leg.
Carly Blaike, a P6 Langholm pupil, said: “It was an amazing experience and I’m glad we had the opportunity to take part.”
Carly’s mum, Sarah, said: “It was very emotional. We know Calum well and it was amazing to see him carrying the torch.”
Bethany Black, P6 pupil, said “It is the best thing I have seen in my life.”
P2 pupils Iona Jamieson and Baillie McVittie said: “It was really fun and we enjoyed all the cars and floats.”
Carol Mills acting headteacher said: “All the children were very excited about seeing the torch. They have done a lot of work on the Olympics and learnt about the values of the torch.”
Sybelle Reay, Canonbie headteacher, said: “It made it meaningful to the children seeing the torch after they have learnt so much about it.”
Calum’s niece Rae Graham, a P1 pupil at the school, was excited to get a high five from Calum at the beginning of his leg of the relay.
Kate Turk, Langholm day centre manager and volunteers took some of the members to enjoy the event.
Kate said: We are proud and pleased for Calum with him being a local lad, and glad to have been a part of it, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
During his busy schedule Calum found time last Friday to visit Langholm and Canonbie primary schools with his torch which he is allowed to keep.
Calum said: "I ran only 300 metres but each step was so, so special. I have been lucky enough to have had some pinch yourself moments but this was just ridiculous. Money just cannot buy you a feeling like this.”
Aileen, who was nominated by a colleague at Active Cumbria in Carlisle where she has worked for five years, said: “I didn’t realise I was running the final leg until I got there. I thought I would pass on the flame to someone else but I ended up running a little bit further.
“I thought I was finishing at the roundabout but I went all the way to the Gretna Gateway so I was the last torch bearer in Scotland. It meant I put the flame back into the lantern rather than light another torch.
“It was really good but a bit surreal. I looked around thinking ‘my goodness’ but you get carried along. Everyone commented that in the photos I am smiling so I must have been enjoying myself. It was all a bit difficult to take in.
“I saw people from Langholm there and my husband, Chris, was there too. People came over and congratulated me, even strangers, and there was a real community feeling.”
Published by http://www.eladvertiser.co.uk