Cornwall welcomes announcement that Olympic Flame will be arriving at RNAS Culdrose
News that the Olympic Flame will arrive at RNAS Culdrose on 18 May to begin its historic 70 day journey through towns and villages across the UK has been welcomed by Cornwall Council Chairman Mrs Pat Harvey and Council Leader Alec Robertson.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced this week that the Olympic Flame will arrive at RNAS Culdrose in the early evening of Friday, 18 May.
"I am delighted that RNAS Culdrose has been chosen as the arrival point of the Olympic Flame into the UK" said Alec Robertson. Leader of Cornwall Council. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to showcase the very best that Cornwall has to offer and we are looking forward to working with LOCOG and staff at the naval base to create a memorable event that will put Culdrose, Helston and Cornwall firmly on the world stage".
"This is a huge honour for Cornwall " said Mrs Harvey, the Chairman of Cornwall Council. "It is our opportunity to show the world what a wonderful place Cornwall is with its underlying historic role as the gateway to the UK".
The Flame will be flown to Cornwall from the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 17 May on board British Airways flight 'BA2012' following an official Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony when the Flame will be handed over to a London 2012 representative. It will travel on a gold liveried aircraft in a ceremonial lantern secured in a specially designed cradle which is, in turn, firmly fixed to its seat on the plane using a secure holding device. The lantern is designed so the Olympic Flame can burn safely for up to 30 hours.
After spending the night at RNAS CUldrose, the Olympic Flame will travel to Lands End on the morning of 19 May ready for the start of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
Suzanne Bond, Chief Executive of Cornwall Development Company, said "The Olympic and Paralympic Games is the biggest event in the world and now Cornwall will be in the spotlight for both the arrival of the Olympic Flame and the first day of the Torch Relay. The exposure offered through these two days is a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase Cornwall to the world; I am working with partners to ensure that we focus attention on our 21st century and world leading businesses as well as our stunning scenery and impressive cultural heritage."
The choice of RNAS Culdrose for the Flame's arrival in the UK acknowledges the vital contribution of maritime and coastal search and rescue services. RNAS Culdrose, home to most of the Navy's Merlin and Sea King helicopter squadrons that are supporting operations around the world, also offers a beautiful Cornish setting in which an estimated 1000 guests, media and members of the local community are expected to welcome the Olympic Flame.
Captain Willie Entwisle, Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, said: 'We are honoured that the Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK by landing at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. Our personnel, many of whom are currently supporting the Royal Navy on operations across the globe, are very excited that the build up to the London 2012 Olympic Games will start here. We are delighted to be playing such an important part in this once-in-a-lifetime event.'
From Lands End the Olympic Flame will then travel 8,000 miles around the UK on the Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola, Lloyds TSB and Samsung. 8,000 Torchbearers will carry the Olympic Flame for approximately 300 metres each, passing the Olympic Flame from torch to torch until it reaches the Olympic Stadium on the eve of 27 July.
Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG said: 'It gives me great pleasure to confirm 10 May as the Flame lighting date and RNAS Culdrose as the Olympic Flame's arrival point into the UK. My team is looking forward to working with the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Defence and our commercial partners to create exciting events to mark the Flame's Greek provenance and its arrival to our shores.'
Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond said: 'I am delighted that Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose will be the first to welcome the Olympic Flame into the UK. It is a fantastic opportunity for the Armed Forces to be involved in such a unique event, and one they can take pride in for years to come.'
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt said: 'When BA2012 touches down in Cornwall carrying the Olympic torch it will be a hugely exciting moment. This kicks off our incredible Torch Relay right around the country and I'm sure the torch will spread 'Olympic fever' everywhere it goes.'