2,500 children descend on Oaklands Park to greet the Olympic flame

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More than 2,500 smiling children descended on Oaklands Park to catch a glimpse of the long-awaited Olympic torch.

Excited youngsters from schools around the area braved the wind and rain and turned out in full force to welcome the arrival of the Olympic torch in style.

Among the crowds of Olympic-mad children were pupils from Birdham Primary School, loaded with hand made Olympic torches, flags and hats.

“The school is very excited to be part of today and obviously we are with the athletes every step of the way”, said Peter Johnson, recently retired head teacher at Birdham Primary School.

The rain held off for the arrival of the Olympic flame, with crowds lining the entrance to Chichester Festival Theatre eager to see the torch.

The torch was greeted with an electric atmosphere, excited crowds of people all cheering and waving their flags.

Among the cheering crowds, flag-waving and Olympic celebrations was Lilian Mahoney, 11, who was looking forward to catching a glimpse of the Olympic flame and is excited to see her sporting heros on the big screen throughout the games.

“It’s nice how the Olympic torch relay brings everyone together, seeing all the different events and everybody so excited is brilliant.

“It is really lovely, even though it is raining, everyone has still come out to watch it. it will be nice to see the torch in Chichester, I am most looking forward to seeing Tom Daley.”

An Olympic effort was made by children, teachers and staff, along with Chichester District Council who organised the event.

We’re so excited that Chichester was chosen as a lunchtime stop for the Olympic torch. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we wanted to make sure that thousands of local schoolchildren can join in on this historical day,” said Cllr Eileen Lintill Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing, and Community Safety at Chichester District Council.

For full coverage of the Olympic torch relay, see this weeks edition of The Observer.