Olympic torch visit meant an awful lot

THE Olympic Torch was in Hartlepool at the weekend and I think a lot of people in the town enjoyed the event.

It wasn’t a particularly great day in terms of the weather – typical British summer had meant that it was cold, gloomy and overcast, and the black clouds looked as if the rain was threatening to pour down at any moment.

However, despite this, the crowds were huge and everybody I spoke with on Sunday really enjoyed themselves.

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I know that there was some concern over possible bad planning after trucks blocked the torch procession.

But I really hope that this didn’t detract too much from people’s enjoyment and appreciation of what was a truly historic day.

It certainly was historic. This is the first time that the Olympic Torch Relay had passed through Hartlepool.

Britain, or rather more accurately, London, has hosted the games twice before, in 1908 and 1948.

It will be likely, then, that Britain will not host the Olympics again in my lifetime, and so I was very keen to attend the event at the Maritime Experience.

I happen to think that the design of the Olympic torch is absolutely beautiful, showing British creativity, innovation and design at its very best.

I was proud to have a picture taken of me holding the torch.

What was particularly nice is that many runners who were part of the relay took time to allow many members of the public to have their photograph taken with the torch.

The Olympics Games are probably the most prestigious sports events in the world, eclipsing even the World Cup or, dare I say it, the European Championships where, at the time of writing, England seem on the up.

There is an intangible quality to the event, based upon sportsmanship, achievement, competition, teamwork and individual effort, determination and success which speaks to a lot of us.

Many people in Hartlepool will not have the opportunity to attend the Olympics – I haven’t been able to get tickets – and so the torch coming to the town meant an awful lot to a large number of people.

Hartlepool showed the torch a good time when it visited, and I think the people of the town enjoyed having it.