THE excitement is mounting as the Olympic torch relay is set to pass through the Advertiser and Review region on Monday, July 9.
After making appearances in Milton Keynes and Bletchley, the torch is scheduled to arrive in Buckingham at 10.19am and in Winslow at 10.42am.
The procession then takes in Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville and Waddesdon, before arriving in Bicester at 2.42pm.
RAF Halton, near Wendover, has been supporting Aylesbury Vale District Council in its planning for the torch relay.
On Monday, spectators will see airmen and women lining the route and there will be an RAF physical training instructor at the relay points – known as ‘kissing points’
Spectators are likely to start lining the route up to two hours before the torch arrives and town centre areas are likely to become very busy.
The arrival of the torch convoy could be accompanied by delays and traffic congestion.
There will be no refuse and recycling collections in Aylesbury Vale on Monday, so all collections next week will be one day later than usual.
All parked vehicles must be removed from the torch relay route two hours before it is due to arrive, or they may be towed away for security reasons.
Police, traffic marshals and stewards will be positioned along the route to offer help and advice.
The roads where the torch is being carried will be closed to traffic about 20 minutes before the convoy arrives and will remain closed until the torchbearers have passed.
Some side roads along the route may also be temporarily closed.
A convoy of vehicles will drive past first, signalling that the runners carrying the Olympic torch will follow in about 10 or 15 minutes’ time. Between towns, the torch will travel in a vehicle.
Winslow has been throwing itself into preparations for the event, with help from a local party product provider Amscan, which this week donated 1.8km of bunting to decorate the town for the occasion, along with hundreds of waving flags and inflatable torches.
On Tuesday evening, working parties of volunteers got together to festoon every pub in the town along the torch route.
Monday will see Winslow celebrate the event in style, having managed to secure a full road closure from 10 minutes prior to the torch arriving in the town to 10 minutes after its departure.
Schoolchildren from Winslow Combined School, Great Horwood Combined School, Steeple Claydon Combined School and Swanbourne House School will be attending the event and will receive a bookmark memento of the day.
In the afternoon, Winslow Combined School will host a picnic on the school field and some inter-school games.
The Market Square will be closed to cars on the morning, with stalls and demonstrations from local sporting and fitness clubs. A drumming band will march down the High Street ahead of the torch cavalcade.
Overspill car parking has been organised at the edge of town.
Winslow’s Royal British Legion hall will be open to the public from 10.30am and will be selling tea and coffee and cake from 11am to 12.30pm. The bar will also be open and will remain open for the day. Non-members are welcome.
And at the final ‘kiss point’ for the torch, outside Winslow Hall on Sheep Street, the torchbearer will be serenaded by the cast of The Marriage Of Figaro, who begin rehearsals that day for the forthcoming open-air opera festival at Winslow Hall.
For more information about the torch relay in Winslow, visit www.winslowtimes.com
In Bicester, the local U3A group has been busy making placards and banners to show support for the torch relay.
Members will be cheering on the relay from their allocated space outside HSBC on Sheep Street.
Cherwell District councillor Nicholas Turner said: “This once-in-a-lifetime event means a great deal, not only to residents of the communities that the Olympic flame will pass through but to the whole of Cherwell.
“I know they will come out to witness the spectacle and cheer the torchbearers on. And all who do will go home with magnificent memories that will last a lifetime.”
The torch will end the day in South Park, Oxford, where Oxford City Council has laid on a sell-out family evening event.
n Children at Great Horwood School had a chance to see and hold an Olympic torch before the relay, when one of the six torches created specially for the 2012 Olympic Games was brought to the school last Friday.
The triangular torches are perforated with 8,000 circles, representing the 8,000 torch bearers. The three sides of the triangle represent the three Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship.
Following the torch relay through Buckingham and Winslow, torchbearers Gloria Chaplin from Nash and Michelle Peerless from Buckingham will be paying a visit to Furze Down School.
n Around 30 family and and friends of Chris Hester from Brackley gathered at The Stratton Arms in Turweston on Monday afternoon as she celebrated carrying the torch through Wellingborough earlier in the day.
Mrs Hester was featured on the front page of the Brackley and Towcester Advertiser in March after finding out she would be carrying the torch. She had been nominated by her daughter Karen Young following 40 years as a foster carer in which she cared for more than 400 children.
n Towcester’s Noelle Supple was one of seven town residents given the honour of carrying the torch and visited Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School, her old school, to show children the torch.
Mark Fitzgerald of GE Inteligent Platforms in Towcester believes the town has one of the highest proportions of torch bearers after his wife Karen Fitzgerald was chosen, alongside his work colleague Jason Scott. He went on to check other legs to find Towcester torch bearers.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “I think the fact that for a town the size of Towcester to have seven runners is an amazing achievement. We probably have one of the highest per capita ratios, and I would suggest that in this Olympic year it is something that the town may want to shout about. It certainly won’t be matched by other local towns.”
The other Towcester torch bearers are; Alice Barnes (ran in Kettering on July 2), Rhona Grant (ran in Dingley on July 2), Alexandra Riley (ran in Wellingborough on July 2, Colin Bycroft (running in Bletchley on July 9), Noelle Supple (ran in Wrangle on June 27), Jason Scott (ran in Dewsbury on June 25) and Karen Fitzgerald (ran in Dewsbury on June 25).