Huge celebrations planned for arrival of Olympic flame in Chichester

The arrival of the symbol of the biggest sporting event in the world in Chichester has sparked calls for major celebrations in the city next year – and the Observer wants everyone to get involved.

It was recently announced hat the Olympic flame will be carried through Chichester next year. And with other major milestones such as the Chichester Gala, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 50th anniversary of the Chichester Festival Theatre taking place throughout 2012, there will be plenty for residents to jump about.

“I think it’s great,” Gana Fisher, of Chichester, said. “Anything that brings something different to the area is a positive thing. It will be good to make something of something, for once.”

Emma Boyns, 17, of Southbourne, said: “Our country is hosting the Olympics, so I think it will be good to show some enthusiasm.”

Group editor of the Observer series, Colin Channon, said: “The arrival of the Olympic flame in the city provides residents with the chance to celebrate something that is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

“We want to see everyone get involved with the celebrations, and not just for the Olympics, but for the diamond jubilee and the Chichester gala as well.

“This is fantastic news for the city, for residents and for businesses.”

David Messam, owner of the hardware store of the same name in East Street, Chichester, said: “I think it’s brilliant. Hopefully the Olympics will bring a lot of customers down this way.”

The Olympic flame will travel through the district on Monday, July 16, giving many of the district’s towns and villages the chance to join in with the celebrations.

Rogate, Midhurst, Easebourne, Tillington, Petworth, Duncton and Chichester are included in the 1,000 villages, towns and cities announced by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

Get Involved

Local man Tom Lord, an Olympic hopeful for beach volleyball, said: “I grew up in Chichester and went to the high school. I will try to be as big a part of the Olympics as I can.

“A big part of the Olympics is about making sure everybody gets a flavour of new sports, and is inspired by all the events. I am really excited.

“We are halfway through the qualification process and there are three teams left. Me and my partner won the British Championships which we retained this year, and that was important.”

LOCOG has launched two new public participation programmes. The ‘Local Leaders’ initiative is an invitation to people to take the 2012 Games into their community and create their own celebrations next year, for the Olympic Torch Relay and other key moments during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

People are encouraged to sign up to the Local Leader programme at www.london2012.com/localleaders to receive further information on a range of themed celebration ideas.

Also launched is the ‘Get Set for the Olympic Torch Relay’ education resource, available to all schools registered with Get Set, London 2012’s official education programme.

The aim of the resource is to provide schools with cross-curricular resources aimed at teachers working with three to 16-year-olds to aid learning around history of Olympic Torch Relays, the design of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay and the torch itself.