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Lochwinnoch Gets Set For Olympic Torch

The iconic Olympic Flame will reach Renfrewshire on Friday 8 June as part of the 70 day Torch Relay around the UK.

Street entertainment for the day has been announced and will include Johnstone Pipe Band, Johnstone Silver Band, Sudden Impact dance group, Plastic Beats drumming group, Wallace Primary School Choir, Big Rory and Ochie the Dog, and big top entertainment including jugglers, balloon makers, stilt walkers and unicyclists.

Excitement is building in Lochwinnoch as the community counts down the days to a unique opportunity to see the Olympic Flame.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “I’m really looking forward to the Olympic Torch passing through Lochwinnoch and am delighted this will be my first official engagement as Provost.

“The Scottish leg of the Torch Relay is an exciting milestone on the road to London 2012 and beyond to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. It presents a unique opportunity for the community to see the Olympic Flame – one of the most enduring symbols of the Games.

“The eyes of the world are following the Torch Relay and as well as showcasing Lochwinnoch on the global stage, the event is a wonderful opportunity for local people to feel part of one of the biggest sporting events in the world.”

To help mark the countdown to the Olympic Flame arriving, a mini school torch relay took place from Monday 28 May until Wednesday 30 May, covering around 15 miles with 90 pupils involved from five schools.

It started at Kilbarchan Primary and moved to Fordbank Primary, then Howwood Primary on 28 May. It then travelled to Johnstone High on 29 May and made the final stretch of its journey to Lochwinnoch Primary on the 30th May. Lochwinnoch pupils met the torch a mile away from their school before taking it back.

Lochwinnoch Torchbearer, Natalie Still, 18 from Johnstone – also an Olympic Young Ambassador for Renfrewshire – came up with the idea of the school torch relay last year while still a pupil at Johnstone High.

Natalie worked with Active Schools Co-ordinator Ewan Jamieson and her two fellow Olympic Young Ambassadors for Renfrewshire, Nicole Stobo and Finn Campbell (who have both have just left 6th year of Johnstone High) to pull the event together.

During the Torch Relay on Friday 8 June, Lochwinnoch Primary pupils will be involved the street parade along the route shortly before the Flame arrives. They will parade between the two Johnstone pipe bands, and will carry the flags of the 204 countries that will take part in the Olympics and wear t-shirts naming the 36 Olympic sports.

Elaine Park, Head Teacher at Lochwinnoch Primary School, said: “”This once in a lifetime event has given us the inspiration for a range of Olympic themed events from a whole school topic to our ‘Olympic Playground Project’ which is set to transform our outdoor learning space.

“All of this will leave a lasting legacy in our school community to enrich the experiences of our children. As a school we have embraced the Olympic values and hope that our children will reflect these in their everyday lives. We are very proud to be a part of the celebrations.”

Street entertainment will start at 1pm on Friday 8 June.

The Torch will then arrive into Lochwinnoch from North Ayrshire at 2.00pm and will travel along Main Street, High Street and up Johnshill before passing into Inverclyde.

Main Street, High Street and Johnshill will be closed from 12 noon until 4pm.

The flame will be carried through Lochwinnoch by four Torchbearers: Natalie Still, 18, from Johnstone; Vegard Sjursen, 27, from Trondheim in Norway; Jennifer Sundqvist, 27, from Stockholm in Sweden; and Janice Hendrie, 56, from Greenock.

Souvenir wristbands will be available from Lochwinnoch Library from Saturday 2 June.

Full details of road and parking restrictions are available at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/TorchRelay