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The Day the Flame Came to Hethersett

By Peter Steward


Chairman of Hethersett Olympic Committee Shane Hull with the London Olympic Flame and on the right Hethersett's Nicky Wardale with her London Olympic Torch


Sometimes time seems to be frozen. The London Olympic flame may have only been with us for a short six minutes, but the memories will last a lifetime.

For this was a once in a lifetime event, a symbol of the togetherness and community spirit that exists in Hethersett.

Our village was the only place in the whole of Great Britain to be honoured by an off route visit of one of the symbols of the coming Olympic Games.

The visit was the culmination of a remarkable Olympic journey that the village has been on over the past three years - a journey that has seen Hethersett awarded a coveted Inspire Award, seen us visited by top officials of the London Games and seen us organise more Olympic themed events per head of the population than any village, town and city in the whole of the country.

Security was tight as the flame arrived in the grounds of Hethersett High School at 6.21 a.m precisely. The whole visit was organised with military precision and last just under seven minutes later the flame made its onward journey back to Norwich from whence it had come on its early morning travels.

People began arriving on site before 5.30 a.m, eager to get a good vantage point. Children were given flags of Olympic competing nations as the High School playing field became awash with colour


On the left is a section of the crowd who came to see the flame and on the right Hethersett High School teaching assistant Sue Wade MBE pictured with former pupils Ollie Armstrong and Josh Worley who have both run legs of the Olympic Torch Relay.

The flame was carried from the car park to the back field by the school's head boy and head girl before being paraded around an arena put together especially for the event by Chair of Hethersett's Olympic Committee Shane Hull, who only found out that he would be carrying the symbol when it arrived in Hethersett. It was a fitting honour for a man who has done so much to turn Hethersett's Olympic dream into reality. Later in the day, Shane was due to run his own leg with the Olympic torch in Felixstowe. Also at Hethersett High School were former pupil Josh Worley and Hethersett Ducklings Playgroup organiser Nicky Wardale - both of whom ran legs of the torch relay yesterday. They brought with them their own personal Olympic torches

Almost 2,000 people were there to wave flags and cheer the flame on its way, all of whom had made the effort to get up extra early to mark a special day in the history of the village.

And almost as soon as it appeared the flame was on its way back to Norwich, leaving people to wend their way back home with memories of the Day the Olympic Flame Came to Hethersett.

You can view a special gallery of photographs of the event by clicking here

Live coverage on the internet appeared on the Norwich Evening News site. To view this click here.