Olympic torch set to shine bright in Suffolk

THE iconic Olympic torch will be coming to Suffolk in the build up to the London 2012 Games.

It is understood the historic flame will have an overnight stop in Ipswich on its way to the opening ceremony - passing through many communities on its way.

Olympic bosses are set to make an official announcement this morning (Wednesday) on where the relay will stop but London based sources have said that Suffolk will not miss out.

However it is unclear whether or not it will stop in Essex.

The exact route will not be known until later this year but to get to and from Ipswich the iconic torch will have to pass through many Suffolk communities, giving people the chance to see the procession and feel part of the Games.

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The London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will make an announcement this morning - exactly one year until the flame arrives in the UK on its way to the opening ceremony.

The news has been welcomed by tourism bosses and business chiefs who will be keen to take advantage of the prestigious event.

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Tim Passmore, chief executive of Choose Suffolk, said: 'This is great news. To be a host of such a once in a generation global event as the Olympic torch relay is an honour for our county.

'While the torch will be with us we will have the window of the world watching. People around the globe will see what Suffolk has to offer. This opportunity, to showcase our county, is exciting and one that we much look forward too.'

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: 'We are delighted that the Olympic torch will be coming to Suffolk. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our county and for the many businesses, big and small, across Suffolk to raise their profile and be involved in a truly worldwide event.

'It will also help bring a boost to our economy and with our members we look forward to taking part in this historic occasion.'

Although it is not yet known where the torch will go many suggestions were sent to the EADT including Ness Point in Lowestoft as the UK's most easterly point, Newmarket as the home of horse racing and Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, because of its historical Anglo Saxon importance.

There were also calls for it to visit the countryside that inspired artists Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable.

The public nomination programme to find the torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame is also being launched today.

People will be encouraged to get in touch and put forward the names of those who they think should carry the flame.

This could include 92-year-old Felixstowe resident Stan Cox, who ran over 10,000m the last time the Olympic Games were held in London in 1948.

'I would dearly loved to be involved,' he said.

The Olympic flame is a practice continued from the ancient Olympic Games.

In Olympia (Greece), a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the closing of the Olympic Games.

The flame first appeared in the modern Games at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam.

The flame itself represents a number of things, including purity and the endeavour for perfection.

The chairman of the organising committee for the 1936 Olympic Games, Carl Diem, suggested what is now the modern Olympic torch relay.

The Olympic flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by women wearing ancient-style robes using a curved mirror and the sun.

The Olympic torch is then passed from runner to runner from the ancient site of Olympia to the Olympic stadium in the hosting city.

The flame is then kept alight until the Games have concluded.

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