Belfast Telegraph

Hazelwood pupils first in UK to spot Olympic torch

by Aurelia Kanounji

A north Belfast school had the honour of being the first place in the UK to receive the 2012 Olympic torch this week.



The torch was presented at Hazelwood Integrated College at 9.30 on Tuesday morning.

Two young ambassadors for Northern Ireland accompanied the torch into the assembly hall, where it was shown to the pupils.

Sports minister Carál Ni Chuilín was present at the event, and addressed the assembly.

Staff and pupils also got the unique chance to hold the torch and have their pictures taken, as the torch was passed around the assembly hall.

Teacher Peter Thompson said it was an “informal and very succesful” event.

After this first stop at Hazelwood College, the torch was being taken to a number of locations in Northern Ireland, starting with Stormont.

Ms Ni Chuilín said:“It is a privilege to have this unique opportunity to bring the Olympic Torch to the North of Ireland ahead of next year’s relay. We in the North need hundreds of torch bearers to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I know there are hundreds of people across the North of Ireland who deserve to be recognised in this unique way.

“Their inspirational stories deserve to be shared across our communities and with the World.”

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) recently confirmed that 8000 people across the UK will be selected to carry the Olympic flame across the UK during the 70-day relay.

Each of the 8,000 torchbearers will have a story of personal achievement and/or contribution to their local community.

Young people in particular are encouraged to get involved, with half of the Torchbearer places expected to go to people aged between 12 and 24 years of age who are considered leading lights in their local communities.

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