By Robert Mooney
RICHMOND, North Yorkshire, U.K. – The Olympic torch relay came to Richmond School the other day.
It was especially exciting because the school is the only one in the United Kingdom to have the torch come through its grounds.
As part of the celebration, the school simultaneously played host to the 2012 School Games, with two-time gold medallist Lord Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, in attendance.
Although many students only saw the torch go past for a few seconds, it will be a memory that will last for years to come.
Richmond School Headmaster
Ian Robertson, left, with
Lord Sebastian Coe
In other parts of Richmond, people lined the streets to see the torch, especially in the town center, where the English equivalent of vuvuzelas were for sale, though they didn’t prove as annoying as they were during the World Cup.
To great excitement and celebration, the crowds waved British flags and also red, white and blue ribbons as the torchbearers went by through the Market Place and on to the school, where they went through buildings and came down a path to the sports fields.
The torch passed by crowds of students and teachers wanting to get photographs before the bearers did a lap of honour round the sports field known locally as Wembley. Then it headed on to the next leg of its journey.
However, before setting off to the next locale, the torchbearers and guests had a chance to speak to some of the students, many of them asking for pictures.
Amy Potter bearing torch
During this time there was the opportunity for students to show off their talents in the performing arts, including a performance from dance students and also some very talented music students busking in the car park.
The torchbearers all had reasons for securing the honor.
Helen Jackson, for instance, has done great work for years with patients in her local hospice who are terminally ill.
Another torchbearer, John Hacking, has worked in a tough school teaching physical education to students for the last 35 years. His students describe him as a true inspiration.
Also getting the opportunity to carry the torch was Amy Potter, an A-Level student who has suffered with cystic fibrosis since the age of 8. She has also organized events to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, including an annual sponsored walk around the village where she lives.
The headmaster of Richmond School, Ian Robertson, said the school was “very privileged” and proud of the chance to have the torch come through.
“It was a great day for all,” Robertson said. “ I was thrilled that everybody could actually see the torch.”
That Coe was also there made it even more special, Robertson said.
Robertson said he was “thrilled to bits” to have Coe attend. “He’s a tremendous role model for young people today and all people in terms of his drive and his passion for sport, supporting schools and he was a favourite of mine when he was a world champion.”
He said he is sure many students will “take lasting memories away from this,” including the chance to meet Coe and playing a part “in a once in a life time opportunity of the Olympics coming to Great Britain and coming to Richmond.”