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2012 Olympic torch relay details unveiled

26 May 10 12:54 GMT

London 2012 organisers have announced the first details of a 70-day Olympic torch relay around Britain.

The flame will arrive in Britain on 18 May 2012 and arrive in London the weekend before the start of the Games on 27 July.

A nomination process will be used to pick the 8,000 torch-bearers.

Details of the route will be announced next year but organisers say that 95% of Britons will be within an hour's journey of seeing the torch.

London 2012 chiefs say the aim is for the torch to visit different communities and cultures and draw people in to the Games.

It will also be used to showcase Britain's towns, areas of outstanding natural beauty ands sporting and cultural landmarks.

The 2008 torch relay ahead of the Beijing Olympics was overshadowed by protests as it made its way around the world.

The London leg was hit by several incidents and criticism over China's 'torch police' security staff and last year the International Olympic Committee decided that international torch relays would be scrapped.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said he hoped the event would bring people across the UK together to celebrate the spirit of the Games.

"We will be working closely with villages, towns and cities the length and breadth of the UK to ensure that as each community welcomes the Olympic flame, they do so in a way that is unique and special to their area," he said.

London mayor Boris Johnson added: "The Olympic flame is the most recognisable symbol of the modern Games and has an awesome history tracing back to ancient Greece.

"Its arrival on our shores in May 2012 marks not only the start of the London torch relay, but arguably the start of the most important three months in the capital's recent history.

"Representing peace and unity, the torch relay is yet another 'once in a lifetime' opportunity in 2012 for ordinary Londoners and visitors to come together and celebrate this historic and exciting moment."

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