OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY: Live blog

5:30pm Saturday 21st July 2012

By Clare Hardy

7.40pm Wow, what an evening! That's it, folks. If you're going to see Rizzle Kicks have a great night, should be fun.

Thanks for joining us, the torch is now being put to bed - like us it's got an early start in Redbridge at 7am. Please join us then if you can.

Good night.

 

7.30  We're back on track. The flame is entering the town hall and the last person to carry it in the borough will be Fabrice Muamba.

This is what the Olympics are all about.   A truly remarkable story this one. Bolton Wanderers midfielder Mr Muamba was technically dead for almost an hour-and-a-half after collapsing in a game against Tottenham Hotspur in March.

His recovery has been nothing short of miraculous and what a lovely touch this is from the council.

Council leader, Chris Robbins, said: “His drive, courage and determination to return to top flight football have been remarkable and he has proved to be a great role model to Waltham Forest’s young people.” Here here. A role model to everyone. It's enough to make you cry.

Ready for Rizzle Kicks?

 

7.22pm  The torch has passed through the town square. There are literally thousands of people lining these streets now, wonderful to see. It's now making its way down Hoe Street towards the Bell Corner and Forest Road - right in the heart of the borough now. 

Steven Cheung, 22, of Greenwood Drive in Highams Park, is carrying the torch from the Big Screen in the town square along Hoe Street.

He told us: “I still can’t believe it. It’s been a long time since 2005 when London won the bid and now it’s only a few days away. I’m very excited.

“I want to go quite slowly to make the most of the experience, although it’s very well organised and each section is timed, so I can’t take too long.

“I’ve got a lot of my family and friends coming down to watch and it’ll be great to share the moment with the local community.”

 

7.10pm Things seem to have slowed down. Maybe Jamaal was too fast after all. The torch is scheduled to arrive at the town square in Walthamstow at 7.10pm- and not a second earlier! London Underground calls this 'regulating the service', I believe.

 

7.04pm  Jamaal Otto has it now - a local lad. Looks like he's been told to slow down. He went from Leyton cricket ground to halfway down Hoe Street in about four minutes. Roger Bannister would be proud. A late bid for the 1,500 metres perhaps?

 

6.58pm  The torch has now passed the Leyton cricket ground and is heading for the Baker's Arms junction with Hoe Street in Walthamstow.

Hundreds more people are here, the borough has turned out and has given a massive thumbs up to the flame and the Olympics. All that extra taxpayers' money us Londoners forked out was worth it then. Wasn't it? Wasn't it? Yes it was. It was.

Running official Roy Stratton, 75, will carry the torch on its next leg towards Walthamstow town square. Mr Stratton, of Larkshall Road, Chingford, who has been involved in athletics in Enfield for nearly 60 years and is an official for UK Athletics, told us: “It’s a big thrill. I’ve been to two Olympic Games – Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, as a spectator.

“When I was 11, my father took me to Wembley during the 1948 Olympics. We soaked up the atmosphere inside.”

His wife, three children and grandchildren are here today supporting him.

 

6.50  We're at Bell Corner now. Standing in Hoe Street is Brenda Wall from Chingford, a volunteer from the Waltham Forest Welcome programme. Basicllay Brenda's welcoming people to the borough, giving out Union Jack flags and passing on local knowledge. Brenda said: "We are trying to build up enthusiasm and people are starting to line the route here. It looks like they will have a great welcome." It does indeed.

 

6.40pm The torch is now going down Leyton High Road. There may have been a lot of negativity about these Olympics so far, but judging by the hundreds of people lining the streets of the borough this evening the Games will be welcomed with open arms. We probably won't get the chance to see this again, folks, a real once in a lifetime thing.

Bagpipes now, as the torch makes its way towards Leyton cricket ground - once home to Essex County Cricket club, of course. 

Back here and the crowds are getting thicker and thicker. Mel Brown has the torch now.

 

6.28pm The time has arrived. It's here! Cheering from the crowds as the flame is carried into the borough. It's going down Ruckholt Road in Leyton and will make its way to the High Road and then Leyton cricket ground where it will be carried by Tottie Pettit.

 

6.26pm The torch has passed the point where it will return on Friday - the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Not too sure about the planning of this route. Oh well, the crowds are loving it. Just a couple of minutes until our turn now.

 

6.20pm Less than 10 minutes now until the flame arrives in the borough.  We're in the town square in Walthamstow and there's at least 500 people having a right old time of it here. Sandra Green, 47, of Forest Road, Walthamstow is here with her husband and daughter.

She told us: "I'm excited. I have got the Olympic rings and the flag painted on my face. We've been here since 4.30pm so we have seen a bit on the stage.

"They have had children's dancing, a singer and balloon modelling so it's been good."

Kasthuri Sivakumar, seven, from Walthamstow, said: "I have been waiting here for a long time, since 4pm.

"We have balloon torches and we have been having fun. We're ready to wave our flags."

 

6.05pm Just over 20 minutes now. The torch is at the Hackney Empire. People are beginning to line Hoe Street in anticipation. It's a real party atmosphere, there are flags being waved from balconies and hanging in shop windows.

Some people are even sitting on the traffic islands around Walthamstow Central.

Nubarak Iqbal, 30, lives in Hoe Stree. He told us: "I am supporting the Olympics. It is something that is a once in a lifetime event. I am here to support whoever runs past me."

 

5.53pm One of the first people to carry the torch in Waltham Forest will be 22-year-old Tottie Petit from Wimbledon.

Tottie is described as a bright and intelligent Technical Arts and Special Effects student, who is highly committed to her studies and studio practice, and has been a consistently high-achiever.

Whilst being thoughtful and supportive of her peers, she is talented, hard-working and dedicated to her academic life.

Not long now. The torch will be arriving in the borough in about half an hour.

 

5.42pm After months of torrential rain the sun has come out to greet the Olympic flame in Waltham Forest – and the crowds have followed.

The torch is approaching the borough. It is expected to arrive in Ruckholt Road, Leyton at exactly 6.28pm. From there it will turn into the High Road and will arrive at Leyton cricket ground shortly before 6.50pm.

Its journey will continue to the Baker’s  Arms and down Hoe Street, Walthamstow, before arriving in Walthamstow Town Square at 7.12pm.

It will then come back on itself, travelling once again down Hoe Street, before taking  a right turn at the Bell Corner into Forest Road, and  arriving in the town hall grounds at 7.30pm.

The torchbearer for the last leg will be Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton Wanderers footballer and Walthamstow lad who has made a miraculous recovery after collapsing in a game against Tottenham Hotspur in March.

The evening will end with a concert by pop duo Rizzle Kicks at Chestnuts Showground behind the town hall at 7.30pm.

 

5.30pm Welcome to the Guardian’s live blog of this evening’s Olympic Torch Relay as it passes through Waltham Forest.

This is Day 64 of the torch’s progress through the country and it’s been on the road since 7.20am,  starting at Greenwich Park, the venue for equestrian sports during the Games.

As the flame wound its way through Newham earlier this afternoon, the relay’s oldest participant, 101-year-old Fauja Singh, who ran the London Marathon this year, took the torch.

Teresa Deacon, of the Walthamstow Village in Bloom project and a Street Watcher for the borough, also carried the torch earlier today.

The torch is due to enter the borough at Ruckholt Road, Leyton, in about an hour’s time and excitement is already building.

We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to Tweet us on @WFGuardian, text on 07795 507440 or email your pictures to msoanes@london.newsquest.co.uk .

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