Thousands descend on Crowborough for Olympic torch relay

Torch bearer Elsena Marsden, 71, midwife from West Sussex.
Torch bearer Elsena Marsden, 71, midwife from West Sussex.
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IT WAS Crowborough’s lucky day! For the first time in weeks the sun shone on the town and everyone came out to cheer the Olympic torch on its way.

Progress was fast. No sooner had the torch been carried away from Green Lane at noon on the first leg of its journey it was taken for a brief lunch-hour stop at Beacon Community College.

Students from Beacon Community College in Crowborough at the Olympic torch event today.

Students from Beacon Community College in Crowborough at the Olympic torch event today.

College students had dressed up as Romans to cheer as it passed them by.

Young Niresha Umaichelvam, 19, from Sutton, a volunteer for various charities who also helps young students whose first language is not English to learn the language, was greeted with shouts of delight as she sped past.

Meanwhile practically the whole of Wadhurst and Flimwell Primary School lined up along Green Lane for this first leg.

Cheers of ‘Come on Georgia’ rang up Crowborough Hill as Georgia Hill, 14 from Polegate started the steep climb to the top of the town.

By 1pm Crowborough Cross was thronged with flagwavers as police outriders led the Samsung and Coca Cola buses to the centre of town.

Talented footballer Sam Rolph, 12 headed to the top of the hill to whoops of delight from classmates at Hazelwick School, Crawley.

There was a buzz of appreciation for retired midwife Elsena Marsden, 71 from West Sussex who overcame cancer and has recently completed a 100 mile walk for her local cancer charity.

Elsena handed on to Burgess Hill meal supervisor and youth club worker Julia Rye, 43.

As the torch headed southwards out of town, inspirational Lorraine Mercer was loudly applauded. Lorraine, 51 from Haywards Heath does not let her disabilities from thalidomide impair her work for dozens of local charities.

Thousands packed the streets, waved balloons, flags and ‘torches’ and enjoyed impromptu entertainment and music.

A brilliant time for all.