20 May 2012

Olympic torch starts its journey through Britain

12:10 pm on 20 May 2012

Tens of thousands of people have turned out to cheer the start of the Olympic torch relay round Britain.

The torch will travel to every part of Britain in a 70-day relay that will culminate in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the new stadium in east London at the opening of the Games.

Streets in Cornwall and Devon were packed as torchbearers young and old carried the flame from Land's End to Plymouth.

Each of the 8,000 torchbearers runs for about 300 metres before lighting the next person's torch, the BBC reports.

Officers from the Torch Security Team accompanying the runners have had to move some spectators out of the way.

In one incident they tackled a man they thought was trying to reach the torchbearer, grabbing him and pushing him into a hedge.

Triple Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie was the first torchbearer in the 8,000-mile relay.

During the day, the torch was borne by more than 100 people including Olympians Duncan Goodhew and rower Michael Lapage who won silver at the 1948 Games.

The torch will travel through 1,019 cities, towns and villages, on foot or in convoy, and drop in at landmarks like the Giant's Causeway and Stonehenge.

It was taken on a 1,800 mile-long relay around Greece before being handed over to the Princess Royal on Thursday evening at the Panathenaic stadium, Athens.

The London Olympics start on 27 July.