Two days of Olympic torch relay through the ELL boroughs

Doreen Lawrence Pic: LOCOG

In the early hours of Monday morning, the Torch began day 66 of its route as it reached Lewisham. Doreen Lawrence – mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence – was the first to carry the flame through the South East London borough.

The sun shone as thousands of people lined the streets to watch the torch as Lawrence set off from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Creekside at 7:30 am.

The human rights campaigner passed the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust Centre – a centre she set up after the death of her son in 1993.

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 into 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.”

The centre provided free family entertainment in the afternoon, including music performances, face painting and a bouncy castle.

Other Torchbearers included Marcel Jenkins, treasurer of the Friends of Blythe Hill and organiser of the Blythe Hill Festival, charity volunteer John Graddon and Daniel Gee, a Lewisham Young Carer, who also cares for members of his own family.

The sun continued to shine bright on Monday afternoon as the Olympic Torch made its way to Croydon. The highlight for many Croydon residents was seeing the actor Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, legend of the blockbuster films StarTrek, carry the torch.

Around 200,000 people lined the streets as the torch passed through Upper Norwood, South Norwood and Thornton Heath, before reaching the Town Hall and Queen’s Gardens. Entertainment included musicians and sports demonstrations. The torch then exited the borough into Sutton via St Andrews School and Purley Way.

A programme of events was laid on by Croydon Business Improvement District (BID), which represents town centre businesses, designed to benefit Croydon businesses, including a parade after the torch had passed through the town.

Matthew Sims, BID’s chief executive told This is Croydon: “We are going to be bringing some marvellous talent to the town centre. “ He said the torch coming to Croydon showed visitors what the borough had to offer.

On Saturday afternoon the Olympic torch passed through the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney, to the cheers of tens of thousands of spectators.

Impromptu street party in Hackney Pic: Joanne Fagg

Fun and entertainment was concentrated in Stepney Park and featured family events from 12pm. It continued well after the torch left the borough at 3:30pm, as rapper Dizzee Rascal handed the flame over to Hackney.

But the most colourful celebrations could be found in Hackney.  Over 400 Brazilian dancers took part in street parades as part of the One Hackney Festival, along with an unveiling of carnival art at the Town Hall.

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe said of the celebrations: “Hackney welcomed the torch in style and thousands of people turned out to watch the torch parade. Saturday was the first full day for the torch in London, and the moment when London 2012 came together with Rio 2016, with Hackney performers and Brazillians joining to delight the crowds. It was a truly fantastic day for Hackney.”

The celebrations were more subdued than planned when the One Hackney event at Clissold Park was cancelled due to previous wet weather, which had created an unsuitable surface at the park.

The torch left the borough of Hackney exiting to Waltham Forest at 6:30pm.

If you missed the torchbearers as they snaked their way through our boroughs, fear not! You can see some of the highlights on the EastLondonLines Olympic Torchbearer gallery below.


Lauren Buljubasic and Celine Chaplin

Some of the pictures in the gallery were provided by  


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