Olympic Flame welcomed throughout the Midlands
The Olympic Flame has been welcomed in Birmingham, Coventry and Leicester over the last three days, as the London 2012 Torch Relay continued its journey around the British Isles. Day 43 of the 70-day relay began in Derby on Saturday with Paralympian Leon Taylor, 37, passing the Flame to 22-year-old Glen Croft, who has been selected as a member of the British archery squad for London 2012.
The Flame then travelled more than 79 miles, passing landmarks such as the National Memorial Arboretum and Tamworth Castle, on its way to Birmingham, with a total of 174 Torchbearers taking part, including singer Cliff Richard, gymnast Kristian Thomas and triathlete Jodie Stimpson. A free open-air concert was held in Birmingham to welcome the Flame, with pop group The Wanted headlining the event.
The following day saw 157 more Torchbearers given their moment to shine as they carried the Olympic Flame, including 12-year-old Dominic Macgowan, the youngest person to take part in the relay, 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Georgina Harland and Vadsana Sinthavong, who works for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Vadsana, who joined the WFP in 2005, helps to ensure that 152,000 pre-primary and primary school children in the poorest districts of Laos receive highly nutritious food, which encourages them to attend school and improves their concentration in class.
She is also involved in a joint UNWFP-IOC project that will distribute sports kits to children in her countrythroughout the developing world. The IOC has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and TOP Partner Samsung on the project, which will benefit more than 150,000 young people living in camps for refugees and internally displaced people in 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and America.
After an evening celebration in Coventry on Sunday evening, the Olympic Flame continued its journey through the Midlands on Monday, travelling over 100 miles on its way to Leicester.