LIVE: Huge crowds cheer the Olympic Torch relay as it passes through Lewisham and Croydon


Doreen Lawrence at Deptford today Pic: LOCOG

With the 2012 Games just days away, the Olympic Torch is winding its way through south London today among cheering crowds and brilliant sunshine. After passing through Tower Hamlets and Hackney on Saturday, today it is traveling  through Lewisham and Croydon, as well as visiting Crystal Palace and Wimbledon on a tour of south London.

An average of 115 Torchbearers have been carrying the flame on each day of its 8,000 mile journey around the UK. During that time the route will have been within 10 miles of 95 per cent of the UK population. Today Doreen Lawrence is one of 187 torchbearers, including tennis ace Andy Murray and actor Sir Patrick Stewart who will carry the flame 36.88 miles through Lewisham, Bromley, Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth.

So, are you following  the flame through Lewisham or Croydon today? Perhaps you know someone who is. If so, we’d love to hear from you by commenting below or joining the conversation on Twitter, we’re @eastlondonlines. We would love to see your pictures, too.

You can check out the routes through your areas and read about all the torchbearers taking part by clicking on EastLondonLine’s interactive map below.

Here are the highlights so far:

  • Campaigner Doreen Lawrence started the relay in Lewisham at  7.45am when she set off from near the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Deptford
  • The torch has wound its way through the centres of Lewisham and Croydon to large cheering crowds
  • Sprinter Marlon Devenish, who won gold in the Athens Olympics has carried the torch on a lap of honour around Crystal Palace athletics stadium
  • Sir Patrick Stewart, the actor, has carried the torch through parts of Croydon
  • Later, the torch will appear in a special live section of BBC soap EastEnders, in an eight minute section as it is carried through fictional Walford, E20, by character Billy Mitchell, played by actor Perry Fenwick.

14.00 After a final lap of Duppas Hill Road, the torch, still being cheered along, has headed for Purley Way and out of the Croydon area towards Sutton. That’s about the end of our live coverage today. We will post more picture as we get them and a full wrap up story will be in this space soon.

13.45  The torch has returned to St Andrews School in Croydon for the last leg of its journey through our boroughs.

13.30  Fairfield Halls@FairfieldHalls  Tweets: ”Brilliant atmosphere as the #Olympic torch passed through #Croydon today. Sun is shining and everyone is having a great time! #croydontorch

13.15 The torch is on a lunchtime visit to Battersea Dogs Home, born by footballer Michael Owen, where there will be, it is said, a dog’s guard of honour….

13.00 Sir Patrick tells the Croydon Guardian the experience was ”exhilarating but very intense.”

12.45 Sir Patrick Stewart, 72,  an actor famous for both Star Wars and Shakespeare, takes the torch down Duppas Hill Road in Croydon towards St Andrews School, waving to the large crowds on either side of the road.

Here is a picture taken by Paul Brand, reporter for ITV on his personal Twitter account:

Sir Patrick Stewart Pic: Paul Brand

12.30 Among the torchbearers in the central Croydon area is  Mike Fleet, who in 1964 narrowly missed out on competing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo but has coached  at Croydon Harriers club in South London, for 53 years.

12.20 Excitement is building as huge crowds greet the torch, currently being carried by charity volunteer Ling Tsang through the centre of Croydon.

It has just passed down London Road, scene of some of the worst rioting and destruction in August last year. How things change in a year.

Here is a picture of the crowds in London Road from Andrew Pelling, the former Labour MP and local councillor, who Tweets: ”Somewhat happier London Road #Croydon than last year”

London Road Croydon today Pic: Andrew Pelling

12.15 Transport for London@TfLTravelAlerts: ”The @tramslondon service is suspended between #EastCroydon and #ReevesCorner due to the Olympic Torch Relay in Croydon #TfL

12.01 BBC London 94.9 reporter Elisa Kennedy, in Croydon, says: “It’s absolutely packed with families. Kids are waving balloons and flags. We’re all waiting for the torchbearers to arrive. People are here to witness a historic moment so near to their area.”

11.40 And another cynical Tweet from Fabes@I_HateFeet : ”Olympic Torch is trying to achieve what many men have tried and failed to do- travel through South London unscathed”

11.30 The torch is now passing through Croydon and being greeted by massed crowds.
11.00  Devonish tells the BBC: “It’s absolutely amazing. The crowd made it really special for me and everybody else.

“I’m gutted I didn’t make the [Olympic] team but this is a realy happy second best.”

10. 50 Marlon Devenish takes the torch on a lap of honour around the Crystal Palace athletics track. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 4x100m relay at Athens in 2004, three golds in the same event at the Commonwealth Games, including one in Manchester in 2002, and one in the European Championships. The BBC reports: ”Having crossed the finish line, he holds the torch aloft and poses for photos, before being surrounded by members of the Brazil Olympic team, who are training at the stadium.”

10.40 As the torch approaches Crystal Palace, one Tweet reminds us of what was happening in this area almost a year ago

Rashaun Black ♔@_friedchick3n Tweets:

”The olympic torch is passing through croydon, because they didn’t learn from the last time what happens with fire in Croydon”

But someone else seems more positive: Rawle Austin (杨晨)@GrowlersWorld Tweets: ”On way to Croydon to see Olympic Torch. Streets are packed. Great atmosphere! 😉 #london2012

9.00 The Torch is now passing through Bromley. We will be back when it gets to Crystal Palace.

8.45 The torch has passed along Loampit Vale, Lewisham High Street and through the pedestrianised market area. Its now heading through Rushey Green.

8.34 Lewisham Metropolitan Police Service tweet: “Great atmosphere as everyone in #Lewisham comes out to welcome #torchrelay, Met officers engaging with crowd.”

7.50 The torch has been passed to  Kieran Lang, 16, the Young Mayor of Lewisham, in front of a packed crowd in the forecourt.

Kieran was elected to his role in October 2011. The Young Mayor works with a group of advisors and meets politicians, officers and partners to influence and make decisions about issues which are important to young people and the wider community.

Keiran Lang today Pic: Lewisham Council

7.45  Doreen Lawrence has picked up the flame and to huge cheers, carried it through the streets to the grounds of the Trust in Deptford.

Mrs Lawrence, 59, said the Olympic Flame symbolises many things in common with the Stephen Lawrence Charity Trust, such as strength, unity and diversity.

She said: “It was amazing to be part of the relay this morning, quite an emotional experience to run in to the Stephen Lawrence Centre.

“The torch represents the community and it is fantastic for the torch to be part of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and centre.”

To mark the day, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust Centre is hosting an afternoon of activities including football penalty shoot-outs, face painting and a bouncy castle from 12pm to 4pm.

You can check out the routes through your areas and read about all the torchbearers taking part by clicking on EastLondonLine’s interactive map below.

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Unfortunately, the Olympic organisers LOCOG was unable to provide ELL with details of which section of the route that each of the Torchbearers will be running in their borough, and torchbearers listed on the EastLondonLines map are subject to change on the day.

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