Matilda Wren

An opinion about human interaction, support of indie publishing and a love of a Home County

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Olympic Torch Relay – Chelmsford

I dragged myself out of bed at 5am (quite grumpily) to take my children to see the Olympic Torch come to Chelmsford City in Essex on 07/07/12. The sun was out, which I found amazing as so far most of Essex had had to witness it in the rain and drizzle, so I thought to be standing in the middle of the city centre on a Saturday morning at 6.30am (to anyone that knows me, Saturday mornings are for lay ins and lay ins only!) would be made bearable by Chelmsford being in beautiful sunshine.

I don’t know whether it was the sun that instantly cleared my early rise tantrums or the atmosphere that hit me as soon as we entered the narrow alleyway beside Gap that leads onto the High Street, but I have never seen Chelmsford look so vibrant. All the way down the High Street and up to the top of Moulsham Street was lined with flags waving and people cheering. Dads had their children on their shoulders and mums had babies in prams, all enjoying being part of a historical moment in time.

Moulsham Street Crowds

We were amused by street entertainers while we waited for the torch relay to begin. Men on stilts, town criers, magicians and jugglers occupied the excited crowds, while the moody looking security looked on. Something told me they didn’t quite like getting up this early either, and the hype of the crowd obviously wasn’t quite having the same affect on them as they were having on me. I got swept away in the excited hysteria that was circling Chelmsford that morning.

Among the entertainers was a trio who showed “Street theatre at its best”. They managed to not only make me smile but make me laugh on a Saturday morning!

Mike Hancock and his side kicks were simply delightful. Offering a traditional and ‘not seen enough anymore’ cabaret act, they provided laughs and smiles a plenty. If you haven’t seen these boys in action check out Mike’s website to see where they are appearing next. It’s worth it and the children love them.

Mike Hancock Band Mike Hancock Band1

Armed with a coffee from Starbucks (hot chocolate for the kids) and holding a prime spot at the front of the crowd halfway up the High Street we were ready and waiting and at 7.36 am it was finally time!

Sylvia Sergeant Sylvia Sergeant1

Now, if I’m really honest, it was all a little quick and over and done with. After standing waiting for an hour, getting more and more excited and hyped up, it was a little brief to say the least. But in its defence, what did I expect?

It is a relay, which in itself tells one what is going to happen. A designated runner runs with the torch to another designated runner and so on. It was never going to last all day. Our designated runner, Mrs Sylvia Sergeant could only move so slow! Or so fast! The torch was on a timer after all.

Sylvia Sergeant has been involved with Chelmsford Athletic club for over 30 years coaching young athletes and judging at field events.

My children loved it. It created a memory for them to have forever and is something for them to tell their children and grandchildren about.

This was Chelmsford’s first official event as a brand new city and her residents turned out in force to show their support and love.

One of our very own Chelmsford residents was nominated and chosen to be one of the Olympic Torch bearers. Mr John Hoskyn ran in the relay in Hadleigh on 06/07/12. John has raised over £50,000 for many charities by running over 500 races including 17 London Marathons, Athens marathon and the Morocco 100k challenge for MND

Along with John is another Chelmsford resident, Sacha Robinson who is the head athletics coach at Chelmsford Sport and Athletic Centre and has spent a great many years coaching disabled and young athletes.

John Hoskyn John Hoskyn with Sacha Robinson

A solitary weekend in July showed the rest of the country just how amazing Essex can be when the torch arrived on the 49th day of its tour of Great Britain. It crossed the border over the A12 at Dedham just before 7.15am on the 6th arriving in Colchester at around 7:30am. It continued through our towns eventually arriving in Chelmsford that evening where it took pride of place for the Hylands House Celebrations.