Winslow goes to town on torch celebrations

Winslow Olympic Torch bearer Gloria Chaplain from Nash . Photo by Nigel Edgecombe
Winslow Olympic Torch bearer Gloria Chaplain from Nash . Photo by Nigel Edgecombe
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YOU could feel the party atmosphere on the streets of Winslow as the town got ready to welcome the Olympic torch.

The torch was scheduled to arrive in Winslow at 10.42am, and by 10am the High Street was already lined with people.

Near the petrol station, the Psalm Drummers were getting people in the mood with some fabulously energetic rhythms.

Children from Bumbles Day Nursery in Singleborough, were excitedly blowing mini-trumpets and waving flags and inflatable torches donated by town company Amscan.

Nursery owner Tracey Wadsworth said the children had been getting ready for the occasion for weeks.

“I think the staff are more excited than the children,” she added.

Children from Winslow Combined School were there, along with pupils from village schools and playgroups.

Outside their High Street homes, neighbours Val Newling and Janet Grady and their friend Sammy Field were offering tea, cakes and even a glass of fizz to visitors.

Among those benefiting from their generosity were Marjorie Banks and Jean McStraw from Thornborough, who were sitting on a wall enjoying a glass of bubbly.

Mrs Banks said: “This is once in a lifetime. We won’t see this again.”

The crowds were thickest near the Market Square and included residents and people who’d come to town specially for the occasion.

Winslow resident Hermione Longton said: “I’m delighted so many children were allowed to be here.

“I’ve seen Akeley Wood children and Swanbourne House children, besides Winslow children.”

Police motorcycle outriders signalled the approach of the torch, and at the designated ‘kiss’ point near the market square the torch relay bus dropped off torchbearer Michelle Peerless.

Ms Peerless, from Buckingham, waited patiently with her unlit torch for the Olympic flame to arrive, while a colourful succession of vehicles drove through, some of them with singing and dancing girls on board.

Finally, the ‘kiss’ was made, as torchbearer, Connie Coneron, from Aylesbury touched torches with Ms Peerless.

As the previous torch was extinguished, Ms Peerless proudly held aloft her newly lit torch, and set off past Winslow Hall on the final leg of the Winslow torch journey.

The schoolchildren returned to school for cupcakes donated by Henry’s tearoom and a picnic on the school field, entertained by the Psalm Drummers, and a visit from torchbearer Gloria Chaplin, followed by inter-school games.

Winslow’s celebrations continued in the Market Square with stalls and demonstrations from sporting and fitness groups as well as a lively Zumba demonstration.

And there was enthusiastic public support for the town’s latest project – an outdoor fitness area – at a stand jointly run by Winslow WI and Winslow Town Council.

Customers queued at Henry’s tearoom and Kim Curle of accessories store Beautifully Different was delighted to be doing a roaring trade.

Former deputy head of Winslow Combined School, Maggie Ley, said: “It was really impressive how much time, effort and thought had gone into the preparation for the day from all the volunteers. It was so good to see so many people out on the route enjoying the atmosphere and especially the young and the elderly in their designated viewing spaces and able to see so clearly what was happening.”