More than 700 youngsters from schools across the Bolsover region got their hands on a real-life Olympic torch when they took part in an event paving the way for the London 2012 Games.
The pupils, from Brookfield, Whaley Thorns, Model Village, Anthony Bek, Stubbin Wood and Park Federation Schools, all got to hold the torch from the 1948 Olympic Games during a series of relay events held over three days at Shirebrook Academy at the end of last month.
They also took part in a range of sports, including skipping, throwing and jumping, and also created a canvas and banners ready for when the 2012 Olympic torch visits Bolsover on June 29.
The event, called the Flames Festival, was organised as part of the Academy’s involvement in the London 2012 Get Set Network, which was launched to encourage schools all over the country to learn more about the Olympic Movement and get more young people into sport.
This involvement also saw the Academy receive £7,900 in funding to help it spread the Olympic message around the district and it used the money to train 40 of its pupils to become sports leaders.
They used their new-found skills to plan and co-ordinate the games during the festival, which was run in conjunction with Loughborough College and the British Heart Foundation’s National Centre for Physical Activity and Health as part of the two organisations’ own Flames: Lighting the Way programme.
The torch, which was the undoubted star of the show, belongs to Loughborough College, which was bequeathed it by Cdr Bill Collins, who organised the actual torch relay in 1948 and taught athletics at the college.
Helen Wakefield, School Sports Co-ordinator at Shirebrook Academy, said: “Our sports leaders worked very hard to plan and deliver the festival, which was a fantastic opportunity for all children to participate in a range of both physical and creative activities.
“To have the 1948 Olympic torch at the festival was a once-in-a–life-time opportunity and allowing the children to hold and run in a relay with the torch will be a memory that will remain with them for many years to come.”