25,000 gather for Olympic torch

Torchbearer 116 Rebecca Swanton carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay
Torchbearer 116 Rebecca Swanton carries the Olympic Flame on the Torch Relay

A STAGGERING 25,000 people lined the streets of St Helens on Friday to welcome the Olympic torch to the borough.

Arriving in the borough at around 2.10pm, Kelly Whalley from Haresfinch was among the first torchbearers.

The official relay entourage then slowly made its way into Windle, greeted by cheers from watching townsfolk.

It then travelled along Rainford Road and Greenfield Road before moving on to the Kirkfield Street area.

There, thousands of people had crammed into the space around the roundabout at the bottom of Westfield Street, with hundreds spilling over onto the roundabout itself to witness the historic procession.

The torch was then carried on up along Prescot Road where it made its way to Prescot, travelling through Knowsley Safari Park.

Among those given the honour of carrying the torch through the borough were blind singer Andrew Coleman, who has appeared on a number of TV talent shows, and hails from Prescot.

He was joined by Mark Johnston, Mark Morrow, Martin Newman, Benjamin Johnson and Matthew Wilkinson.

The torch, which will eventually make its way to the opening ceremony in London on July 27, was then handed over to Jane Campbell at Knowsley Safari Park.

Although for most of the 25,000 folk who lined the streets, they only caught a fleeting glimpse of the torch, it was a day no one who was there will forget.