Olympic Flame set to arrive in UK today

18 May 2012

Today the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will transport the Olympic Flame to the UK from Greece for the start of the Olympic Torch Relay – presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. The Olympic Flame will arrive at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall on board a chartered British Airways A319 aircraft, specially named The Firefly, at approximately 19.25 BST.

A delegation from the UK, lead by HRH The Princess Royal and including LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe, Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and David Beckham will accompany the Flame after receiving it at the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 17 May.

Images from The Firefly Olympic Flame flight to UK can be downloaded from 8pm from here http://mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/locog?nav=pr167725561

Images from the arrival of the Olympic Flame event can be downloaded from 8pm from here http://mm.gettyimages.com/mm/nicePath/locog?nav=pr167507124

A welcoming party, led by the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, will greet the delegation as they disembark the aircraft, before a ceremonial cauldron is lit on the airfield to celebrate the Flame arriving into the UK. The event will be attended by over 500 invited public and dignitaries from the local area, as well as senior representatives from the Armed Force, the Ministry Of Defence and Captain William Entwisle, Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose. Entertainment including a Royal Navy flying display and a Royal Marines band will build the excitement at the event prior to the Flame’s arrival, which will also feature in an hour-long The One Show special programme on BBC One.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: ‘The arrival of the Olympic Flame on home soil is a magical moment for any host country. It will connect millions of people around the UK to the Games in a unique way and allows us to celebrate the best of the UK and its people. We thank the Ministry of Defence, British Airways and the Hellenic Olympic Committee for helping us to deliver the Flame safely for the start in Land’s End tomorrow.’

The Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP said: “Today, the Olympic flame begins its journey across the nation. 8,000 people will pass it from hand-to-hand, a human chain that reaches the length and breadth of Britain.

“It will visit a thousand towns, and be seen by millions; with every step, the excitement will build. And ten weeks from now, the world will watch as the flame arrives at the new Olympic Stadium, bringing with it the hopes of a nation.

“This Games is for everyone. Between now and the Opening Ceremony, we have a chance to showcase our sporting heritage, our people and our culture, the things that made us such a great choice for the 2012 Olympic Games.”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "This is a fantastic moment for the London Games. With every day of the torch relay the excitement will build around the country as we look forward to this fantastic festival of sport and culture. It also signals the beginning of delivering the wonderful post Games legacy we have promised Londoners that continues to build on the jobs and economic growth that are already benefiting every corner of the capital."

Captain William Entwhistle, Commanding Officer of RNAS Culdrose said: “We are honoured to have been chosen to welcome the Olympic Flame into the United Kingdom, and also to be able to help it start it’s very special journey around the whole Country. All of our Personnel, be they part of the Search and Rescue Squadron who will be giving the Olympic Flame a ‘lift’ to Land End, those training for frontline operations or even those who are currently supporting the Royal Navy across the globe, are very proud that our Air Station has been chosen to play a part in the build up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. We are delighted that the Fleet Air Arm, the Royal Navy’s Flying Force, has been asked to play such an important role in this once-in-a-lifetime event.”

James Williams, Director, Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola: 'It is a huge honour and privilege for Coca-Cola to be helping to bring the Olympic Flame home to the UK to start its incredible 70 day journey around the country. We have been amazed and truly humbled by the inspirational stories of our Future Flames who will now be celebrated during their once in a lifetime moment of carrying the Flame. They exemplify the very best of British youth and we're so proud of them all. We also want to invite everyone along the route from Land's End, all the way to the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, to join us in lining the streets to celebrate all 8,000 Torchbearers and to share in the magic of London 2012.'

Sunny Hwang, Vice President and Head of Global Sports Marketing at Samsung Electronics said, “This is remarkable occasion signifying the final countdown to the greatest Olympic Games of our times. The Olympic Torch is the emotional symbol of the Olympic Games which marks the beginning of the Olympic Games. It also presents an opportunity to general public to take part in the Olympic Games by offering them a chance to carry the Olympic Flame. We wish all the Samsung Torchbearers the best of luck, many of which have been recruited from around the world as part of our ambition to encourage everyone to take part in London 2012.”

Sally Hancock, Sally Hancock, Director, 2012 Partnership at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “As the National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Lloyds TSB (Bank of Scotland in Scotland) are delighted to be welcoming the Olympic Flame to the UK and are proud to be creating as many opportunities as possible for communities the length and breadth of the UK to get involved as the Flame travels past their front door steps. Today we’re launching the Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund to give back to the communities in which we operate and pass through on our journey with the Olympic Flame and are calling on everyone to come to the Lloyds TSB/[Bank of Scotland in Scotland] site at each Evening Celebration to vote for a community project in their area that inspires and supports young people. By voting for their favourite community project at the Evening Celebration, local residents can enter a draw to win tickets to the London 2012 Games.”

On Saturday morning, 19 May, a Royal Navy Search and Rescue Squadron will deliver the Flame to Land’s End where the Olympic Torch Relay will start. The 771 Naval Air Squadron Sea King Helicopter will arrive at 07.00 and Lieutenant Commander Richard Full will carry a lantern to the world-famous signpost at Land’s End where the first Torch will be lit supported by a crowd of local public and dignitaries. Three-times Olympic Gold medallist and Ben Ainslie CBE will have the honour of being the very first Torchbearer for the Relay.

Ben, who grew up in Cornwall, is one of 8,000 Torchbearers who will carry the Olympic Flame during the Relay. At Land’s End he will pass the Flame to 18-year-old Anastassia Swallow, a Torchbearer from the Coca-Cola nomination campaign. Anastassia is the youngest Sports Ambassador for Cornwall and has represented Great Britain four times internationally as a member of the Junior British Surf Team.

The other Torchbearers at Land’s End will be: Eric Smith, 76, who was nominated through the LOCOG campaign, Victoria Smith, 16, who was nominated through the Lloyds TSB campaign and Stephen Brady, 59, who was nominated through the Samsung campaign.

On leaving Land’s End, the Olympic Flame will travel an estimated 8,000 miles around the UK giving thousands of communities and individuals their moment to shine as the Olympic Flame comes to a place near them.

As the Olympic Flame is classified as a symbolic flame it is permitted to be carried on board an aircraft subject to special authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority. The Flame will travel in a ceremonial lantern that is secured in a specially designed cradle which is, in turn, firmly fixed to its seat on the plane using a secure holding device. The lantern is designed so the Olympic Flame can burn safely for up to 30 hours.

The Olympic Flame was lit on 10 May using the sun's rays at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional hour-long ceremony organised by the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) among the historic ruins of the home of the ancient Games. Following the Lighting Ceremony, the HOC then took the Olympic Flame on an 8-day relay around Greece before the official Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony in Athens on 17 May.

Notes to editors

For further information please contact Freud Communications on + 44(0) 203 003 6675 or the London 2012 Press Office on +44 (0)203 2012 100. Find out the latest from London 2012 HQ by visiting the website at www.london2012.com, via our blog http://blog.london2012.com or follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/london2012

About RNAS Culdrose:

RNAS Culdrose is an Air Station and a training establishment which provides vital maritime helicopters to support Royal Navy operations across the Globe. Home to most of the Navy’s Merlin and Sea King helicopter Squadrons, Culdrose is supporting operations across the Globe, participating in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, protecting oil rigs and trade routes and playing a key part in the Royal Navy’s anti-drugs and anti-piracy operations. In the UK, Trainee Aircrew, Engineers, Air Traffic Controllers, Fire-fighters and Flight Deck crews all undergo intensive training prior to joining Naval Air Squadrons for duties at sea. Additionally, Culdrose has a ‘Search and Rescue’ Squadron which is on constant standby 365-days a year, ready to react to emergencies throughout the Southwest over land and sea.

About the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners:

As the longest standing Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola will be using its heritage and experience to spread excitement across the UK ahead of London 2012. Coca-Cola's national nomination campaign - Future Flames – has focused on finding inspirational young people from across the country to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame. This summer Coca-Cola will celebrate these Future Flames: young people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and community and the environment; to spread happiness in their local communities. Find out more at: www.coca-cola.co.uk/olympic-games

As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB will be taking the inspiration and excitement of the Olympic Flame right to the heart of communities across the UK. As part of Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland will be the National Presenting Partner in Scotland. We are creating as many opportunities as possible for communities the length and breadth of the UK to get involved as the Flame travels past their front doors. Lloyds TSB’s troupe of performers the Flame Followers will be travelling ahead of the Flame to excite crowds with a unique fusion of street performance, theatre and sport celebrating the endeavour, athleticism, agility and skill of Olympic sporting heroes, Team GB.

Lloyds Banking Group is Britain’s biggest corporate investor in UK communities and in 2011 invested £85 million and as part of the Group’s Community Investment Programme, we’ve launched the Lloyds Banking Group Community Fund to give back to the communities in which we operate and pass through on our journey with the Olympic Flame. We’re inviting everyone to visit the Lloyds TSB stand at each Evening Celebration to vote for a community project in their area that inspires and supports young people. By voting at the Evening Celebration members of the public will automatically enter a draw to win four tickets to London 2012. The two projects that receive the most votes at each locality will each win a £5,000 grant from Lloyds Banking Group. At the Lloyds TSB site members of the public will also have the opportunity to have their photo taken with the Olympic Torch, meet Lloyds TSB Local Heroes – the future stars of Team GB and ParalympicsGB – and get up close to our Flame Followers. To find out how you can join in the celebrations with Lloyds TSB (in your community please visit www.lloydstsb.com/london2012

As a Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Samsung aims to encourage everyone to be part of the Olympic Torch Relay to make London 2012 ‘Everyone’s Olympic Games.’ We aspire to offer new and memorable experiences for everyone around the world. Samsung is providing 1,360 Torchbearers, who have “gone the extra mile” by contributing to the local communities, through its worldwide public nomination campaign. Samsung will support towns and cities to celebrate the exciting moment of the Torch Relay and help showcase Great Britain’s cultural landmarks to provide a more enjoyable experience to everyone. The evening celebrations that will be staged in 66 towns and cities throughout the Olympic Flame’s journey across the UK, will allow Samsung to entertain the community they are visiting. The Samsung caravan, complete with LED screen on the side showcasing runners and goodwill messages, will travel with Torchbearers around the UK cheering up everyone to celebrate the Torch Relay with music and interaction with local communities. It is Samsung’s ambition that London 2012 will be an event that reaches and involves more people than on any other Olympic Games occasion. To learn more about Samsung’s London 2012 Olympic programme, please visit www.samsung.com/london2012.

The BBC will be providing extensive coverage of the Torch Relay on television, radio and online. This will include special Breakfast shows on every BBC local radio station, and extended live coverage of an evening celebration event in every Nation and English Region. Full details of the coverage will be at www.bbc.co.uk/2012

London 2012 Games partners:

The Worldwide Olympic Partners who support the London 2012 Olympic Games and the National Olympic Committees around the world are Coca-Cola, Acer, Atos, Dow, GE, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Procter and Gamble, Samsung and Visa.

LOCOG has seven domestic Tier One Partners - adidas, BMW, BP, British Airways, BT, EDF and Lloyds TSB. There are seven domestic Tier Two Supporters – Adecco, ArcelorMittal, Cadbury, Cisco, Deloitte, Thomas Cook and UPS. There are now twenty-eight domestic Tier Three Suppliers and Providers – Aggreko, Airwave, Atkins, Boston Consulting Group, CBS Outdoor, Crystal CG, Eurostar, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, G4S, GSK, Gymnova, Heathrow Airport, Heineken UK, Holiday Inn, John Lewis, McCann Worldgroup, Mondo, NATURE VALLEY, Next, Nielsen, Populous, Rapiscan Systems, Rio Tinto, Technogym, Thames Water, Ticketmaster, Trebor and Westfield.

There is one domestic Tier One Paralympic Games-only Partner, Sainsbury’s and one domestic Tier Three Paralympic Games-only Supplier, Otto Bock. The London 2012 Paralympic Games also acknowledges the support of the National Lottery.

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