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Olympic torch tour of South

Lord Coe with the Olympic torch

Lord Coe with the Olympic torch

First published in Eastleigh Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

Today the Daily Echo can reveal the route the Olympic torch will take through Hampshire.

Huge crowds are expected to line the streets when the famous flame weaves its way through Hampshire over three days in July, carried by a relay of specially-selected people through towns, villages and cities.

The highlight will be an evening of free celebrations in Southampton’s Mayflower Park on July 14 – less than a fortnight before the Games’ opening ceremony.

But civic leaders are hoping to create a carnival atmosphere at all the spots.

The torch will make its first appearance in Hampshire three days earlier, stopping in Winchester and Kings Worthy.

After heading off to Wiltshire and Dorset, the relay will return to Hampshire in the New Forest, with routes going through Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Lymington, from where the convoy will travel across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

There a torchbearer will carry the flame on a chair lift at the Needles.

Once back on the mainland the torch will travel almost four miles through Southampton from the Red Funnel ferry terminal and ending at the neighbouring Mayflower Park ahead of the evening event, for which details have not yet been revealed.

On its tour of the city the torchbearers will travel past Tudor House Museum, the Bargate and even complete a lap around St Mary’s Stadium during the Marcus Liebherr tribute match.

The following day, after a trip to the Channel Islands, the flame will visit Fareham and Gosport, including a trip on the Gosport Ferry.

Southampton’s leisure and culture chief Cllr John Hannides said he hoped residents would turn out “in force”.

He said: “This is a unique opportunity for residents to take part in the London 2012 experience and I would really encourage as many people as possible to line the route and welcome our inspirational torchbearers.”

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