SLIDESHOW - ‘Feeling of Britishness’ as Olympic torch arrives

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THE people of Morecambe were wet but proud as the Olympic torch was carried down the promenade on Friday morning.

Linn Rushworth, Jan Rushworth, Anne Horner and Taylor Sutcliffe were amongst those braving soaking rain to support torchbearer Vikki Brier, who carried the torch to the Eric Morecambe statue and the Winter Gardens.

Crowds brave the rain to watch the Olympic torch arrive in Morecambe.

Crowds brave the rain to watch the Olympic torch arrive in Morecambe.

As they sheltered under Slater’s amusements on the seafront, waving Union flags and cheering, Linn said: “We’ve been here for half an hour to cheer everybody on, including the policemen!

“It’s a shame how the weather always spoils everything but everyone is turning out still. That’s the main thing. And it’s good that we’ve been put on the map.”

The torch entered Morecambe from the Coastal Road, venturing down Marine Road led by a convoy of police and support vehicles playing cheerful music.

Hotelier Jim Catterall, watching from his B&B the Craigwell, said: “Everybody is still incredibly enthusiastic about it.

“It’s great that the Olympic spirit is being taken all around the country.

“There’s a great big feeling of Britishness at the moment.”

Jim said the torch relay hadn’t brought many extra bookings for Morecambe B&Bs though.

“It was the same with the Jubilee and the European football championships. People would rather stay at home to watch them.”

Morecambe band The Heartbreaks’ drummer Joe Kondras was spied watching from his bedroom window on the prom. Meanwhile Joe’s stepdad Pete Moser, from More Music, was manfully entertaining the drenched masses with his one-man band act by the statue.

Some intrepid onlookers used creative ways to get a close-up view of the torch and stay dry.

Haulier David Chalmers had the most ingenious idea. He parked his 18-ton wagon on the the promenade opposite Dallam Avenue and opened up the side curtains. He and his family then had the best possible view as the cavalcade came right past them.

“It was just off-the-cuff,” explained David.

“I wanted to see it and this was the only way!”

Morecambe Community High pupils were amongst the many schoolchildren who were allowed out of lessons to watch the occasion.

Linda Hartley and Sue Albiston from the school said the kids were “hyper” with excitement.

Linda’s daughter Tracy Hartley said: “I’ve already seen it in Carnforth this morning. I’m stalking the torch!”

The torch procession stopped at Morecambe Town Hall and then made its way down to the Eric Morecambe statue.

There, torchbearer Vikki Brier posed for the watching media, standing proudly beside “our Eric” as the crowds cheered.

Caroline Wilks, from North Yorkshire, was watching from outside the Kings Arms pub opposite.

“I heard the torch was coming and I love Morecambe so I decided to come here.

“What a great atmosphere. The weather has been horrendous but I wouldn’t have changed today for anything.”