THE Olympic flame is set to light up Hartlepool.
The town will play its part in the countdown to the games after it was announced as part of the 70-day route around the UK.
Torchbearers will carry the flame through the town on Sunday, June 17, next year.
And just a month later, the town will hopefully be cheering on the Hartlepool stars who are expected to take part in the games.
The exact details of the route will not be unveiled until nearer the time, but Mayor Stuart Drummond hailed the announcement as “tremendous news for Hartlepool” and said it will put the town in the world’s spotlight.
Town sporting stars of the past, future and present gathered to celebrate the announcement. Olympic boxing hopeful Amanda Coulson told the Mail of her delight, saying: “Wow!”
She added: “To find out the Olympic flame is coming through Hartlepool, it’s just fantastic for the town. It’s amazing.”
Beaming Judith Turland, a member of the Team GB swimming squad at the 1972 Munich Olympics, who is now head of PE at Manor College Of Technology, said: “It’s absolutely terrific.
“The Olympics is just a magical event and now the people of the town can share in that magic.”
London will be at the centre of the world’s attention when the Olympic flame lights the cauldron to signify the start of the games on July 27 next year.
The Olympic flame will be carried by 8,000 inspirational torchbearers on a 70-day journey around the UK ahead of the opening ceremony,
After hearing that Hartlepool is to be part of that journey, Mayor Drummond said: “This is tremendous news for Hartlepool.
“We are already involved in a number of initiatives to utilise the Olympic Games to encourage people to participate in sport and this is the icing on the cake.
“The Olympic Games is one of the world’s major sporting events with a massive following and it’s a huge boost for Hartlepool to be associated in this way.
“The Olympic torch relay provides a fantastic opportunity to put Hartlepool in the world spotlight and bring further, positive profile to the town.”
Amanda, who is one of Hartlepool’s 2012 hopefuls alongside fellow boxer Savannah Marshall and swimmer Jemma Lowe, said: “This news makes everybody realise that it’s here and Hartlepool is playing their part.”
Emma Cassell, 13, a world school biathlon champion and a pupil at Manor College of Technology, said: “The Olympics is what we are all aiming for.
“Obviously next year will be too early for me but it’s brilliant that the Flame will come through Hartlepool.
“I will definitely be going along to watch.”
Mrs Turland, who teaches Emma at Manor College of Technology, added: “The Olympic experience is something you never, ever forget.
“Everybody in Hartlepool now has the opportunity to be part of that experience.
“We have so many talented young sports stars in the town and next year’s Olympics will hopefully inspire them to fantastic things in the future.”