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Torch relay highlights in Lewisham and Greenwich
THOUSANDS of people gathered in Greenwich and Lewisham to welcome the Olympic torch and join in the historic spectacle. SARAH TROTTER rounds-up the highlights.
SUNSHINE greeted the eager crowds who flocked to watch the Olympic flame trail through Lewisham and Greenwich.
Greenwich was the first London borough to welcome the torch on Saturday after it was abseiled 180 ft down the Tower of London sparking its tour of the capital.
The torch - weighing around 1kg - blazed into Lewisham on Monday for a two-hour parade met by cheering supporters and it was early nights all round for residents who braved the 7am starts in both boroughs.
Igniting the London stretch of the relay in Greenwich Park was 15-year-old Natasha Sinha, from Greenwich, who was nominated for her achievements in swimming and cross-country.
She told News Shopper: "It was incredible, a really magical moment.
"It was amazing to be the first torchbearer in London - I felt very honoured."
There were 35 runners for Greenwich including Sir Robin Knox-Johnson - the first person to sail non-stop around the world - who lapped the Cutty Sark to cheers at 7.43 am.
The relay wound round historic Greenwich centre before heading through East Greenwich and Eltham High Street, to finish in Woolwich General Gordon Square at around 10am.
Woolwich’s revamped square was packed with flag-waving fans who cheered on the final torchbearer for Greenwich - charity worker Sarah Smith.
Mrs Smith’s family, Graham Smith, with 10-month-old Callum Smith, said: "We're very excited on her behalf, Callum is loving it!
"We are very proud. She has done some really good things to get here."
Early birds in Deptford were fired up by performers outside Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and dance for the start of the torch’s journey in Lewisham.
The 66th day of the relay saw Doreen Lawrence, mother of Stephen Lawrence, carry the torch to whooping crowds and waving motorists.
There were 29 torchbearers for Lewisham who each raced a 300m stint passing Lewisham Hospital, Ladywell Fields, Broadway Theatre and into Bellingham and Downham.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said: "I thought it was fantastic.
"The enthusiasm it’s created, even among quite cynical people, is really quite heart-warming."