Flaming brilliant!

The Olympic torch procession passing through Pontefract. (p606g225)
The Olympic torch procession passing through Pontefract. (p606g225)

THOUSANDS of people lined the streets as the Olympic torch relay passed through the district on Monday

People took the day off work and school children swelled the crowds, waving union flags ready to witness the Olympic flame.

Charity fundraiser Mick Cordall from Hemsworth had the honour of carrying the flame through parts of Ackworth.

Mr Cordall, 43, of Union Street, said: “It was one of the best experiences of my life and it is one I will never forget.

“It was phenomenal, I am still buzzing from it.

“I am just lost for words, it is still sinking in that I actually carried the Olympic torch.

“I felt so proud and honoured to have represented my community.”

The life-long charity fundraiser said he could not see the road for spectators and thanked everyone for the support.

He said: “It was so surreal hearing people calling my name. It was amazing.”

SESKU Academy volunteer, Charlotte Furlong, carried the flame through Pontefract.

The 24-year-old lives in Wakefield but works at the South Kirkby academy.

She said: “It was amazing, a really special day. It was out of this world. I didn’t know where to look, there were so many people. I wanted to make sure I was smiling and waving and thinking ‘don’t trip up, let me get up this hill’.

“My legs were like jelly, I thought I wasn’t going to make it up the hill but I got there.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“To be honest I knew it would be a good experience but it has been fantastic. It’s been really emotional and I can’t believe it.”

Eight-year-old Brooke Hughes, who attends Bell Lane School in Ackworth, was cheering the torchbearers through Ackworth.

She said: “It is so exciting because it’s the first time the flame has been through here. It’s so much fun.”

Around 85,000 people witnessed the flame being brought through the district.

Coun Peter Box, leader of Wakefield Council, who watched the Olympic Torch at The Hepworth Wakefield, said: “This was our moment to shine and the people who lined streets across the district did themselves proud.

“It was great to see so many people come together to give the Olympic Torch Relay such a warm welcome to the district. I am sure that I and many others will remember this momentous occasion for many years to come.”

The flame’s journey started in Wakefield, welcomed by large crowds as it travelled past Wakefield Girls’ High School, Wakefield College, down past County Hall and the Town Hall and through the Bull Ring.

People lined the streets cheering on the torchbearers as it travelled along the side of Wakefield Cathedral, down Kirkgate and finished its journey with Karen Townend taking the flame past The Hepworth Wakefield.

An estimated 35 thousand people welcomed the torch to Wakefield.

Jono Lancaster, from Normanton, was one of the torchbearers that carried the flame through the city.

Mr Lancaster, who has Treacher Collins Syndrome, has ran several marathons for charity despite doctors telling him he may not be able to walk because of his disfigurement.

In Ackworth, Jack Mitchell, 19, from Barnsley, drew cheers on support as he was helped out of his wheelchair to walk with the torch.

The 19-year-old suffered a severe brain injury in 2010 and underwent life-saving surgery followed by 14 months in rehabilitation.

The Olympic torch then went through Castleford with around 10,000 people lining the streets to watch the torch travel along Leeds Road, Front Street and Park Road.

Approximately 30,000 spectators also cheered on the torchbearers in Pontefract.

There were around 10,000 people in Ackworth before a grand finale at Oakfield Park Primary School.