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Islington schools hold their own Olympic torch relay

PUBLISHED: 17:05 27 July 2012

Pictured reaching the town hall is Noah Yabeo 8 followed by Jumanah Nour 7. Pic Dieter Perry

Pictured reaching the town hall is Noah Yabeo 8 followed by Jumanah Nour 7. Pic Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Olympic fever swept through the borough’s primary schools as children held their own torch relay.

Excited pupils from 27 primaries pounded the streets and even took to the water on a canal boat with torches they had designed for last Thursday’s event, as well as those used in the 1956 and 1948 Games.

The carefully planned route started at Ashmount Primary School, in Ashmount Road, Archway, with leader of Islington Council, Cllr Catherine West setting off the relay runners at 9.30am, before it finished five hours and 17 miles later at Islington Town Hall.

Pupils from St Luke’s Primary School, in Radnor Street, Finsbury, boarded a boat at City Road Basin for their stretch – thanks to Islington Boat Club – before handing over the torches to Rotherfield Primary in Rotherfield Street, Islington.

St Luke’s headteacher, Ann Dwulit, said: “When the torches came into in the playground and all the children gave a big cheer and did laps with it. The children were so excited to actually hold a real Olympic torch. It meant a lot to them.”

Pana McGee, headteacher at Ashmount, said: “The whole event made the Olympics feel even more personal to the children. We were especially delighted to be the school setting the torch off.”

Michael Macneill, the councils’s youth sports development manager, said that more than 100 children ran in the relay with more than 1,000 involved in making torches and some 4,000 parents and teachers lining the route to support the runners.

He added: “A huge amount of planning went into the relay and all the hard work paid off. The joy on the runners’ faces, the level of support from children and parents spectating and the fantastic welcome that schools gave to pupils from visiting schools was really something wonderful to behold.

“It was the perfect way to get everyone excited about the Olympic torch coming through Islington.”

Three torches from the event will be displayed in Islington Assembly Hall before they move to Czech House at the Business Design Centre, Upper Street, Islington, from July 27 to August 11.

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