Around 3,000 cheering school children are expected to line the streets as the Olympic Torch Relay passes through Marlborough on Wednesday, May 23, on the fifth stage of its tour of British towns and cities en route to the Olympic Stadium in London.
Parking will be suspended on the north side of High Street between 10am and 1pm for safety and logistical reasons – with the added bonus that it will afford spectators an unobstructed view of the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Parking on the south side and centre of High Street will be unaffected, but ‘rolling roadblocks’ are likely to cause some delay to drivers – but the whole shebang will last just 20 minutes.
The torch, which will have passed through Calne earlier in the day, will arrive by minibus at the Golding Road junction of the A4 Bath Road, at the College end of town, at 11.25am. A relay of runners will carry the torch through the town, passing the flame every 300 metres.
The relay will pass St Peter’s church and move along High Street passing the Town Hall, then along New Road, Barn Street and Herd Street, reaching the Herd Street / Port Hill junction at 11.44am. The torch will then be loaded back onto the minibus and taken to Wootton Bassett.
A heavy police presence is planned, with 20 officers, plus community support officers and volunteer marshals, on hand during the morning, increasing to 70 officers as the flame passes through town. The relay itself will be flanked by motorcycle outriders from the Metropolitan Police.
A police spokesman confirmed: “Marlborough, Pewsey and Devizes police officers will be on the ground from 10am in preparation for the main relay. The procession will be out of the town by 11.45am and local police will remain on the ground until the dispersal of the crowds to ensure public safety.”
Entertainment will be provided at various points along High Street. Marlborough Choir will be singing outside St Peter’s Church from about 10.45am. Lloyds TSB – one of the official sponsors of the Olympics – will be entertaining that section of the crowd closet to their location during the morning. And Olympic themed music will be piped from the Town Hall, where dignitaries will gather to watch the spectacle.
Otherwise it will be business as usual. Marlborough Chamber of Commerce said that shops would be open as normal, although businesses were likely to make some concessions to allow their staff to watch the relay as it passed their premises. And the Wednesday charter market will also be trading as normal.
Temporary parking for the thousands of visitors expected to flock to the event will be provided at Marlborough Common.