Olympic torch to travel through area during test run

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THE Olympic torch will travel through the area sooner than expected.

The unlit torch will pass through Langham, Oakham, Uppingham and Stamford on April 20 in a test run of the Leicester to Peterborough route.

The primary objective is to test the convoy, crew and communications procedures in advance of the 70-day relay, which will start in Land’s End on May 19, rather than encourage people to line the streets as the convoy passes through communities.

The Leicester to Peterborough stretch has been selected as it represents a technically challenging day on the relay.

The 80-mile route takes in both rural and urban locations and allows every element of the relay to be tested, including convoy splits – when a torchbearer splits from the convoy to take in a route the convoy cannot access – and alternate modes of transport, including a train and a rescue boat.

Leader of Rutland County Council, Roger Begy (Con) said: “We are looking forward to hosting the dress rehearsal event on April 20 and being part of the Olympic preparations.

“This is very much an event to test the operational side of the relay and to make it as realistic as possible; a number of road closures will be put in place which will be advertised locally.”

The real relay will pass through the area on July 3 on its way to the London Olympics opening ceremony.

It will pass through Market Deeping and Bourne the following day.

Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Sebastian Coe said: “The dress rehearsal will give us the chance to test many of our operations around the Olympic torch relay.

“Test events are a vital part of our operations in preparing for all of the events that are part of the 2012 Games.”

Procedures tested on the day include timings, convoy movement, radio communications, the collection and drop off of torchbearers, route markings, traffic management and security.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said: “The relay will give towns across the country their moment in the spotlight and celebrate the torch bearers who contribute so positively to their communities.

“This dress rehearsal will help ensure that the torch relay goes smoothly.”