Olympic Torch lights up Liverpool

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Craig Lundberg made the final journey © Trinity Mirror

The Olympic Torch lit up the city’s world-famous skyline as the symbol of this summer’s London Games spent the day in the region.

More than 275,000 people turned put across Merseyside to see the torch, which passed through Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Knowsley and Wirral.

Blind Iraq War hero Craig Lundberg, who suffered life-changing wounds in 2007, was handed the honour of lighting the Olympic Cauldron at the Pier Head after the torch had arrived aboard a Mersey ferry.

Over 21,000 people were present to cheer him on a beautiful summer evening as part of a night of celebration which included a performance by Liverpool band The Wombats.

The 26-year-old told the Liverpool Echo of his pride after carrying the torch into his home city to light the cauldron ahead of the evening’s entertainment.

“It was amazing, I’m so proud to have represented my city,” said Lundberg. “I only found out on Monday that I would be doing this.

“I can’t see the pictures but I can imagine what they look like, because our city has the best skyline, the best waterfront and the best people in the world, I only hope I’ve done them proud.”

The former soldier, who became a father to son Ben only three weeks ago, added he would be donating the torch he carried to Museum of Liverpool as “I think this torch is the city’s torch; it belongs in the museum so I’m going to give them a ring and see if they want it.”

Earlier in the day, the torch had made its way across Merseyside in the hands of a variety of selected torch-bearers including Sporty Spice Mel C, and Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Chris Boardman.

Special events were also held at Knowsley Safari Park and Aintree Racecourse as the symbol of this summer’s Games in London was put on public display.

The torch finally arrived at the Pier Head after crossing the river, where invited guests included MPs Luciana Berger, Alison McGovern, Angela and Maria Eagle and singer Gerry Marsden.

Olympic rings on Crosby Beach © Trinity Mirror

Marsden, whose anthem has made the ferry crossing famous worldwide, spoke proudly of what the torch relay meant to the people of his home city.

“This is a great thing for Liverpool, and the people of the city embraced this,” said the 60s star. “It’s going to be an evening to remember.”

The concert was the curtain raiser to a four-day weekend for the country as workers across the region looked forward to Monday and Tuesday off work due to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The torch arrived in England on May 18th and is on a 70-day tour of the UK before the start of the London Olympics on July 27th.

 

About Liam Deveney, JMU Journalism