Lewes torch relay from the media truck

Lewes Torch bearer Tom Glenn
Lewes Torch bearer Tom Glenn

“YOU’LL have to make your mind up quick”, I was told as I was offered inside or out on the media truck for the Lewes leg of the Olympic Torch Relay.

We had been waiting at Earwig Corner for the convoy to arrive not knowing much about what the truck would have to offer.

When it appeared I followed Sussex Express photographer Peter Cripps to the back to find a row of plastic seats literally stuck to the back of the truck.

I had a quick look at the inside space but for the sake of alacrity sat down on the plastic seat and was belted in.

It felt a bit like a fairground ride and in the end that’s just how I’d sum it up.

My job was Tweeting but even at Earwig Corner my photo of the torches on the bus failed to load on the office phone.

Mobile phone reception is notoriously poor in Lewes.

Then I found I could send a straight Tweet but as the truck rolled off and first runner James Kirby, 18, from Eastbourne, set off I realised being able to see the road speeding away through the metal grill my feet rested on was making me dizzy.

To be honest I failed miserably. My fingers were going everywhere and then I lost connection altogether. I think a couple of my Tweets made it through the ether.

Once I’d more or less given up on the technology, though, I really started to enjoy the ride.

There were thousands of people lining the streets for the whole route and the High Street was a sight to behold with loads of children and flags waving.

Lewes District Council estimated there would 21,000 people but revised the figure after the event to a massive 30,000. Last year’s bonfire night brought in more than 60,000, for comparison.

Everyone was cheering and shouting and most were aiming their waves and happy faces at us on the media truck.

They wanted to be on the telly - but then they wanted to see the torch as well.

What a great view of the runners too and how proud I felt to see them all, particularly former daredevil stuntman Eddie Kidd with torch in hand in his wheelchair going past Lewes Prison.

Such an honour and a day everyone will remember, whether they were running, helping or watching.

The only problem was it was all over so quickly.

Pictured: Lewes runner Tom Glenn, 18