May 17 2012 by Carmella de Lucia, Chester Chronicle
WITH just 12 days to go, the countdown is now well under way for the Olympic Torch celebrations taking place in Chester on Tuesday, May 29. CARMELLA DE LUCIA reports on what you can expect to see on the big day
ROADSIDE celebrations will mark the route of the Olympic Torch as it makes its way through Chester city centre later this month.
As the flame exits Saltney at 5.45pm, carried by a total of 14 different torchbearers, it will be escorted by Roman soldiers who will join the torch convoy at the Old Dee Bridge to welcome it to the city, amid a host of musical jubilation featuring performances from two bands at the Bandstand at The Groves, including the City of Chester Brass Band.
As it reaches Grosvenor Park there will be more music from Farndon and District Brass Band as well as a special dance collaboration between 26 students from the University of Chester and Cheshire Dance.
Gladiators will stand at the Amphitheatre to greet the torch as it enters the city streets, and Canon Jane Brooke from Chester Cathedral is expected to meet torchbearers at its West Door.
Northwich based band The Weavils and Bollin Brass Band will provide the music as the flame passes the Town Hall, and crowds will cheer on final torchbearer, jockey Jason Maguire who will ride the 2011 Chester Cup winner Overturn over to the racecourse in the final leg of the relay, arriving at 6.50pm to ignite the Olympic flame cauldron onstage.
Just before this historic moment, the new Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Pam Booher, is expected to give a special welcome to mark the occasion.
The celebrations at the racecourse begin at 5pm with gates opening at 3pm. Entry is free but must be strictly by ticket only.
There will be two entrances to the Roodee, one through Watergate Square on New Crane Street at the main entrance, and the other from the Little Roodee Car Park.
During the first part of the council-organised racecourse celebration, former World Champion and Olympic rowing medallist Rebecca Romero will be welcomed onstage followed by a short film about the University of Chester student’s life.
This will precede musical entertainment specially provided by Coca-Cola, which includes a performance by Welsh rockers Kids in Glass Houses, as well as stunning acrobatic and dance displays.
An unmissable performance by Theatre in the Quarter will follow this, as they take to the stage to showcase elements of their production Across the World, which tells the tale of a Chester Giant who, like an Olympic athlete in pursuit of gold, travels the world in pursuit of a dream.
The show, which features more than 350 local singers and dancers, has been composed by artistic director Matt Baker with lyrics by Helen Newall, and ends in a spectacular finale titled , featuring 500 community dancers performing alongside professional dance artists and aerialists in a co-production between Cheshire Dance and Walk the Plank.
This leads up to a magnificent firework display, special effects and specially composed music that will play against a backdrop of the city walls to close the day that Chester played host to the Olympic Torch.
At 7am the next day (May 30) the first of four torchbearers will begin the exit from the city from the middle of the suspension bridge at The Groves, before the final torchbearer returns the flame to the convoy on Wrexham Road at 7.20am.
Cllr Stuart Parker, executive member for culture and recreation, said: “The torch celebration is for everyone within West Cheshire.
“There will be celebrations on route as torchbearers make their way from Saltney to the racecourse and we hope that together with the racecourse show, will truly mark the significance of the Olympic Games and the Cultural Olympiad.
“So please celebrate with us this magnificent and special occasion when the Olympic torch comes to West Cheshire,” he added.
If you are attending the racecourse celebrations, you are allowed to bring a picnic, but there will be a variety of hot and cold food and drink available from retailers.
For safety reasons glass bottles, umbrellas, camping chairs, gazebos, barbecues and pets, excluding assistance dogs, are not permitted.
Turn to our special 12-page Olympic Torch supplement, free with this edition.
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