Early indications are that almost 83,500 people celebrated the Olympic Torch in York yesterday, 19 June.
Yorkshire Police estimate 55,000 people lined the route of the Olympic Torch relay in York yesterday. In the city centre, footfall was up 25 per cent on the average for a Tuesday: good news for businesses and retailers alike. Early figures suggest some 5,000 people were cheering the Torch at 7:45 this morning (20 June).
On both days, the crowds on the streets were kept safe by 260 volunteer stewards recruited by York Cares from amongst the city’s largest employers, and trained by City of York Council to work alongside council stewards and police officers. Council cycle training officers also stewarded 170 cyclists who formed the Torch convoy’s spectacular vanguard of bikes.
City of York Council orchestrated over 350 volunteer performers to entertain the crowds lining the streets on 19 June. Among the 19 groups were Scarcroft Primary School’s Japanese Drummers and York St John University’s Stimulation Big Band, plus a group of performance poets composing a relay poem on twitter.
Yesterday afternoon, 23,412 people attended the York Racecourse celebration which climaxed with Olympic showjumper Harvey Smith lighting the Olympic cauldron. Sharing the main stage with Katy B and Twist & Pulse were 73 performers playing African drums with groups Calabash and Umbu or singing in the University of York’s gospel choir Zamar.
That morning at the Racecourse, between 3,000 – 3,500 people watched almost 1,000 children from 23 City of York Council schools manipulating 30 giant puppets – some four metres high – at the Sporting Giants competition.
Alternative sporting experiences were offered by City of York Council which co-ordinated 17 different sports taster sessions from national and local sports organisations. Each reckoned that an average 400 people tried out the activities.
Councillor Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, Culture and Tourism said:
This is a fantastic celebration of volunteering in the city as well as a great show of talent. The Olympic Torch in York has really inspired the city to come together and thank you to everyone who made this such a special occasion. It’s a wonderful legacy which we will now build on during a summer of sports events for all across the city.
Sally Burns, City of York Council’s Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods said:
The combined operation of teams across the council working with partner organisations ensured this was a smooth and safe event, and one that has become a highlight of 2012, the year when York celebrates 800 years of self-governance.