Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Strictly champions waltz with torch

Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani dancing with the Olympic Flame inside Blackpool's Tower Ballroom (LOCOG/PA)
Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani carry the Olympic Flame at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom (LOCOG/PA)
Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani with the Olympic Flame (LOCOG/PA)

Strictly Come Dancing champions Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani waltzed into Blackpool Tower's ballroom with the Olympic torch.

Harry, the drummer in boyband McFly, and professional dancer Aliona were the final torchbearers on the flame's 60-mile route from Kendal Castle, Cumbria.

They carried it into the Blackpool Tower Ballroom after an evening celebration at the newly built open air venue, the Tower Festival Headland, had to be cancelled due to horrendous weather conditions.

A packed house cheered and clapped as the dancers, dressed all in white, showed their graceful dancing skills on the famous ballroom floor.

After lighting the torch, Harry said: "What an honour. Thank you everyone for being here to watch us and thanks for letting us do that for you."

They were the last of 139 torchbearers on a route that took in swathes of the North West coast, including Fleetwood and Morecambe and the historic city of Lancaster.

Local judo club organiser Michael Liptrot, 49, from Kendal, kicked the relay off, covering the first leg from the town's castle at 8am.

Also taking part was Victoria Brier, 54, of Heysham, Lancs, who carried the flame to the Eric Morecambe statue on Morecambe seafront.

Victoria was nominated after caring for her terminally ill father.

Peter Cunningham, 70, of Southport, took it on a Blackpool tram, and was selected for his selfless work with the homeless.

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