The Olympic torch will light up the streets of St Andrews next month as it makes its epic journey around Britain.
Excitement is mounting as the countdown continues to the once-in-a-lifetime occasion on June 13, which will involve hundreds of local children and their families and create new business opportunities - in particular, for those operating in and around the town centre.
Final details were announced yesterday (Thursday) of the timetable of events being staged in the university town to mark the visit of the Olympic torch relay.
Huge breakfast-time crowds are expected to line the streets as the torch winds its way through the town, beginning just after 7am at the start of its day-long relay run to Edinburgh.
Around 800 early risers will by then have already witnessed the torch lighting ceremony being staged within the university’s historic St Salvator’s Quadrangle.
The all-ticket, sports-themed event, involving community-wide participation and a focus on young people, will take place between 6.30 and 7am.
The Olympic torch will be symbolically re-lit from a Fife miner’s lantern - to the ringing of the St Salvator’s College Chapel bells - before setting off for its trip around the town centre.
It will be passed between several relay torchbearers and accompanied by a parade of colourful convoy vehicles before eventually being placed in a vehicle and driven to the next relay destination of Milnathort, en route to the capital.
The school relay race will involve teams from Canongate, Greyfriars, Lawhead and St Leonards primary schools, while pupils from Madras College will also be in attendance along with the City of St Andrews Pipe Band.
All will be welcomed by the new Provost of Fife, Councillor Jim Leishman.
Local charity, the St Andrews Partnership, is helping to co-ordinate the programme, with support being provided by Fife Council, St Andrews University, St Andrews Community Council and an army of volunteers.
Patrick Laughlin, from the Partnership, said yesterday: “Everyone is beginning to get very excited about June 13, which will be an opportunity for the whole St Andrews community to come together to experience a town-wide spectacle.
”Though the timing of the event is somewhat earlier than we had originally expected, in some ways it is advantageous - in that it will allow everyone to enjoy the occasion without interfering with the working and school day. We are hoping that lots of local people will make the effort to line the streets, and that town centre businesses will enter into the spirit of the occasion, both during the build-up period and on the day itself.
”While most of the tickets for the event in St Salvator’s Quadrangle have been allocated to schoolchildren, local sports clubs and community bodies, we have been able to reserve some for the general public.”
These will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and applications should be made by e-mailing details to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
The timetable for the community event in St Salvator’s Quadrangle is -
6am - Public entrance to Quad (North Street) opens.
6.30 - Public entrance (North Street) closes - no latecomers will be admitted.
6.30 - Master of Ceremonies begins warm-up commentary.
6.40 - School relay race.
6.50 - Stage party procession enters Quad, preceded by City of St Andrews Pipe Band and followed by the Olympic torch.
6.55 - Speeches of welcome by St Andrews University and the Provost of Fife, Councillor Jim Leishman.
7am - Torch-lighting ceremony and St Salvator’s Chapel bells begin to peal.
7.02 - Torchbearer runs round Quad and exits into North Street. The torch will follow a relay route via the Cathedral, South Street, West Port, Argyle Street, Hepburn Gardens and Buchanan Gardens, departing the town by 7.20am.
7.05 - Fun “Energiser” session for all spectators in the Quad.
7.20 - Energiser session concludes and spectators exit the Quad, led by City of St Andrews Pipe Band.