Thousands cheer Olympic Torch in Caerphilly
Thousands of people lined the streets of Caerphilly town to welcome the Olympic Torch relay.
The sun was out and spirits were high as an estimated 30,000 people descended on the streets.
Caerphilly County Borough Council organised a special “Sports Village” for families to ensure the carnival atmosphere continued well after the torch left town.
BBC TV’s Blue Peter also geld special shows throughout the day and broadcast live from the village site on the Owain Glyndwr Sports Field.
Mayor Gaynor Oliver said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Caerphilly and it is so appreciated.
“This will lift Caerphilly’s profile – although it is already very high. The turnout is great, although Caerphilly always responds in the best manner.”
Within the crowds were residents Roy and Jill Askell from Trecenydd.
Jill said: “It’s amazing – when Caerphilly does something, it does it well.
“Everyone’s happy – it’s like a party atmosphere.”
Husband Roy agreed. He said: “We were up on the corner by Tesco and it was great. We didn’t expect so many crowds. It’s perfect weather and everyone’s happy.”
Council leader Harry Andrews said the Olympic Torch visiting Caerphilly was one of the town’s “great days in history”.
He said: “There was talk early in the week of some 25,000 people visiting, but I think we have surpassed that figure.
“Today is more than the Olympic Torch – we have the flower festival, the food festival and the sports village.”
Andrew Hart, from Llanbradach, and partner Kelly Gale, was impressed with the family-friendly atmosphere of the sports village. The pair were visiting the town with eight-month-old son Kian Hart.
Andrew said: “It is all brilliant – it gets kids into sport. We’ve been really impressed at how local businesses have been accommodating with Kian.
“They’ve allowed us to change him and have warmed his bottle. Everything we’ve wanted they’ve sorted it.”
Making a special appearance was five-time Olympic Gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave, who was at the sports village with charity The Wellcome Trust.
Sir Steve said he disagreed with critics that say the London 2012 games has nothing to do with Wales.
He said: “I definitely wouldn’t agree with that. You could see the excitement when the torch came around and the excitement has been here all day.
“The Olympics is pretty special. We have bid a number of times with our big cities, Birmingham and Manchester, and they’ve never got a look-in. The IOC would only look at London, so our hands are tied. I would like to see the Olympic sports spread around the country, football is the only sport to do that.”
Sir Steve added that he was impressed by the turnout in Caerphilly and the backdrop of Caerphilly Castle.
He said: “It’s a very very impressive castle with a huge history and the thousands of people here to watch the torch come into the castle was really fantastic.”
Here is Caerphilly Observer’s complete guide to everything you need to know for the big day.
Olympic Torch Relay: The route and associated road closures
Olympic Torch Relay: Parking and Transport
Olympic Torch Relay: Olympic Sports Village and the Blue Peter Olympic Roadshow
Olympic Torch Relay: Food Festival
Olympic Torch Relay: The Torchbearers