5:40pm Friday 13th July 2012
By Tim Ridgway
Sussex has got Olympic torch fever as the county gears up for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
Tens of thousands of people are set to line the streets to cheer on the flame through 30 villages, towns and cities on its journey through the county ahead of the start of the games.
Just three days before the torch crosses into Sussex, communities have been putting the finishing touches to plans.
For the dozens of torchbearers it will be an extra special day to remember.
Bus driver Gavin Owen, 38, from Brighton, will carry the torch through Eastbourne on Tuesday, July 17.
He said: “I am really honoured to be carrying the torch. It’s going to be one of those moments in one’s life that will never be forgotten.
“I have already had a few schools ask me to come in and show the children the torch and talk about my story. It will also have a special place at home, and I shall keep it to pass on in the family.”
Sylvia Baker, 87, of Preston Park Avenue, Brighton, has been chosen to carry the torch through the city’s streets on Monday, July 16.
Living the dream
Sylvia, who started losing her sight a couple of years ago, said: “Being a sports person all my life, I was nominated to be a torchbearer by my daughter.
“I want to prove that sight loss isn’t a barrier to living your dreams. With the right advice and support, visually impaired people can retain their independence.
“I wanted the honour so much. I’m really excited to be representing Brighton.”
Brighton charity fundraiser Michael Burnage MBE has been to chosen to carry the torch through Eastbourne.
He said: “To be involved in such an event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”
“As a teenager I remember watching the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, at some unearthly hour, in a holiday cottage in north Cornwall.
“Never for one minute did I think I would ever be involved in such a spectacle.”
The torch will enter the county on Monday morning (July 16) and pass through Chichester, Bognor and Worthing before an evening celebration at Sussex County Cricket Ground in Hove.
The following morning it will leave Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and go via Crawley, Lewes and Eastbourne to Hastings before leaving the county on Wednesday, July 18.
A range of community events are planned for the special occasion.
The preparations have included Olympic hopefuls visiting schools.
Charlotte Kerwood, a 25-year-old shooter from Fletching, near Uckfield, visited Telscombe Cliffs Primary School which named each their classes after a competitor.
Refuse and recycling staff for Worthing and Adur councils were yesterday out cleaning the streets ahead of the big day.
Spectators are advised to allow extra time for travel, aiming to get to locations an hour before as rolling road closures will be in operation.
The streets directly off the main route will be shut to traffic from about 30 minutes prior to the torch flame arriving and also for 30 minutes afterwards.
The convoy will travel through towns and villages at 5mph in two processions.
The first will be a convoy of sponsors, followed five to eight minutes later by the flame convoy.
Each torch-bearer will walk or run along the route until they meet the next.
Follow the torch
See Saturday's Argus for full details of activities taking place to celebrate the Olympic torch relay.
For a map of the torch route through Sussex and live coverage of the relay from Monday, July 16 visit: www.theargus.co.uk/olympictorch.
Don't miss the Olympic torch relay picture specials in the newspaper on Tuesday, July 17 and Wednesday, July 18.
Follow Olympic tweets in Sussex by using the #SussexTorch hashtag
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