Relay is once in a lifetime event - for some

AN important moment in Buckingham’s history was over in the blink of an eye on Monday when the Olympic torch passed through town.

Thousands of Buckingham residents and workers lined the town’s high street, Bridge Street and London Road to see the flame up close.

Olympic Torch Relay passing through Buckingham - Sarah Williams highfive

Olympic Torch Relay passing through Buckingham - Sarah Williams highfive

The Olympic torch convoy arrived at Stratford Fields at around 10.20am and its arrival was heralded by the town crier in the Cattle Pens. The torch convoy was lead by three lorries from sponsors Lloyds TSB, Coca Cola and Samsung.

Police rode on their motorbikes ahead of the convoy, giving high fives to the people lining the streets.

The flame was carried up to the Old Gaol by Sarah Williams, 19, of Pleasanton, in the USA.

With one quick kiss of torches, the flame was passed to Aylesbury resident, Paul Barter, 45, who continued the relay.

Gwen Dixon, waiting for the Olympic torch to pass through Buckingham. She went to the 1948 London Olympic Games at the age of 23.

Gwen Dixon, waiting for the Olympic torch to pass through Buckingham. She went to the 1948 London Olympic Games at the age of 23.

The flame was carried to the town hall and down Bridge Street, past cheering crowds who had come out of their offices to offer their support.

Mr Barter passed the Olympic flame to Jemma Moore, 26, from Banbury, outside The New Inn.

For many, this was the first time in their life they had experienced a build up to the Olympics in their home country, but not for Gwen Dixon.

Mrs Dixon was visiting her son, Robin, in Buckingham, and took the opportunity to watch the Olympic torch relay while she was here.

She remembers the last time the Olympics came to London in 1948 and, at the age of 23, was present at Wembley Stadium to watch figures such as Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four gold medals in the athletics, and long-distance runner Emile Zatopek perform.

Speaking to the Advertiser and Review, she said: “I can remember seeing Fanny Blankers-Koen with her arms out and she looked like she was flying. I remember seeing Zatopek, the Czech runner, and the crowds were chanting his name.”

She added with almost no television and other technology, there wasn’t as much hype around the Olympics in 1948.

She said: “It was after the war had finished and it was early days. But everyone made a particular effort to support it.”

Mrs Dixon said she was pleased she had the chance to experience the Olympics for a second time and to see the Olympic flame.

“I am glad I saw it because there has been such a lot of publicity, but to be honest it was a little underwhelming!”

She added she would be watching the Olympic Games when it starts on July 27.

>> Want to see more pictures from the Buckingham leg of the Olympic torch relay? Visit our website www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk to see a slideshow.

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