THE OLYMPIC torch relay received a rapturous welcome when it reached Montrose and district on Tuesday morning.
A crowd of several hundred people gathered in Hillside to watch as the flame was brought in from Marykirk and made its way through the village via Marykirk Road borne by 18-year-old Angus swimmer Joe Lipworth, 17-year-old Alice Booth from Aberdeen and Doug Smith (42), also from Aberdeen.
The lively and expectant atmosphere was enhanced by Rosemount Primary School pupils who watched and cheered the flame’s change-over between Miss Booth and Mr Smith from a cordoned off viewpoint on Marykirk Road.
Spectators hailed the relay as the most significant event in Hillside for years and were delighted to see so many people turn out to cheer the flame on its way.
Linda Cameron, from Hillside, said: “It’s really exciting to see it come through Hillside. It’s the busiest the village has been for ages.
“It’s not something I’d have expected to see in the village and it’s not something we’ll see again. I think that’s the view of everyone here.
“It’s also important for the kids to see it come through and that’s one of the most thrilling aspects of it.”
The school pupils were among the most vocal supporters and headteacher Mary Fox said the spectacle was the culmination of class projects based on the Olympic Games.
She said: “The children have been really excited. There has been a huge build-up to it and we’ve been focusing on the Olympics as part of ongoing classwork. Some classes have made their own torches and banners for the event.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and not to be missed.”
In Montrose, hundreds of people started to gather along the route from just after 9am and gave torch bearers Jim Brown from Fettercairn, Conor Gordon from Falkirk, Emma Mitchell and Mark Gauci from Aberdeen, and Toby Veale from Peterculter enthusiastic vocal encouragement as they made their way along Coronation Avenue, North Esk Road, the High Street and Hume Street.
The public’s numbers were also swelled by primary and academy pupils who had been released from classes to watch the event.
Montrose and district’s inclusion on the relay route was praised by local councillor Paul Valentine, deputy leader of Angus Council, who said the day was a historic one for the burgh.
He said: “It’s excellent that the relay was so well supported and I’m delighted that Montrose and district was given the opportunity to see it.
“We’re quite a big community and it was good to see that we weren’t left out. It’s a shame that it hasn’t gone through Arbroath, Carnoustie and Monifieth but organisers had to choose a route.
“Hopefully it will raise an interest among youngsters who have been a part of something this area has never had an opportunity to be part of before. It’ll maybe lead to them taking up sport and we might see one or two in future Olympics.”
The Review is keen to see your photos of the Olympic flame’s journey through the town and district. E-mail them to us, remembering to include your name, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll publish the best in next week’s paper.