Blackpool hosts an Olympian visitor

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THE SPIRIT of the Olympic Games has arrived in Blackpool.

Members of the public were given the chance to see the gold Torch of the London 2012 event in St John’s Square as part of a nationwide tour.

Louise Shaw and Jean Rowlinson with the Olympic Torch in Blackpool

Louise Shaw and Jean Rowlinson with the Olympic Torch in Blackpool

The Torch arrived in Blackpool to inform visitors about the history of the relay and to encourage people to nominate someone worthy of carrying it in London at the beginning of the Games.

Those in St John’s Square also had the opportunity to have their picture taken with the Olympic memorabilia.

Marie Sanderson, 24, from Pennine Close, Blackpool, says seeing the torch in Blackpool is a “special memory”.

She said: “This is something to remember.”

Miss Sanderson also welcomed the chance to pick a member of the community to represent Blackpool in 2012.

She added: “Nominating someone to carry the torch is a good idea.

“There are people who do a lot for the community and it’s a good opportunity for them to be recognised.”

Jean Rowlinson, 71, from St Annes Court, St Annes, viewed the torch with her granddaughter Louise Shaw, 30, from North Drive, Cleveleys.

Mrs Rowlinson said: “This is a brilliant thing and it’s really good they are bringing it to Blackpool.

“The Olympics brings out a lot of friendship in people and it will bring the country together.

Mrs Shaw added: “I like the Torch’s design and it will be a treat to see what it’s like when it’s all lit up. It’s very special for it to come to Blackpool.”

Olympic hopeful Mark Shaw, 20, a clay target shooter from Grange-Over-Sands, Kendal, was representing team Great Britain.

He said: “The Olympics means a lot to me and I have been training hard to get myself there. It’s has been my goal since I was 12 and all I have ever wanted to do is compete at the Olympics.”

Lloyds TSB organised the UK tour and hailed the day a success.

Kathryn Rankin, of Lloyds TSB, said: “Blackpool is one of the best communities we have had in terms of actually engaging with the torch.”