Thousands of cheering Britons lined the streets of towns and cities across Cornwall and Devon in the UK at the weekend as the Olympic torch was carried over 136 miles from Land’s End to Plymouth Hoe on the first day of its 8,000-mile relay around Britain.
A gold-liveried air rescue Sea King helicopter flew the torch to Land’s End early on Saturday, where it was passed to the triple Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie, the first of 8,000 torchbearers. In addition to the UK participants, inspirational characters from all around the world will fly to the UK over the next two months to accept the role of torchbearer for a leg of the relay.
UAE national Abdulla Al Gurg, an active member of the board of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg (ESAG) Charity Foundation, has been named by the London Organising Committee as a torchbearer for a stretch of the journey in the London Borough of Lambeth, England in July. Other foreign participants include Elham Al Qasimi, the first Arab woman to trek to the North Pole; Jianming Li from Dongguan, China, who was named the most influential enterpreneur in China's mobile phone industry and is a keen giver to charitable causes, and Kenyan Evan Wadongo, founder of a Use Solar, Save Lives project to help poor communities.
On 27 July the torch will ignite the cauldron at London’s Olympic Stadium to mark the start of the 2012 Games. Nine million people are estimated to come out and watch the torchbearers, as they run through 1,019 communities, passing landmarks such as Stonehenge, coming within 10 miles of 95 per cent of the UK population. “This is an extraordinary moment that has been 10 years in the making,” said Games organiser Sebastian Coe.