It may be only a matter of days before the Olympic torch is carried through our area – but these children couldn’t wait to celebrate the Games.
Pupils from seven schools in the Miltoncross cluster in Portsmouth held their own torch relay yesterday.
An Olympic torch was made out of cardboard and paper. As pupils carried it from one school to the next, parents and other children lined the streets, waving Union Jack flags and cheering.
The torch was carried from the starting point at Moorings Way Infant School to Meon Infants, Meon Juniors, Milton Park, Miltoncross and Langstone Infant School before finishing at Langstone Junior School.
And despite the miserable wet weather, pupils were determined to complete their Olympic mission.
At the end of the torch relay, all the children performed their own Olympic song called Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Niel McLeod, headteacher of Miltoncross, says: ‘We thought that it would be nice to celebrate the Olympics as a group and bring the schools together.
‘All the schools are celebrating the Olympics in different ways, so we thought it would be good to have a community celebration.’
He adds: ‘We had parents lining the streets waving flags and people from local businesses have been coming out of their shops.
‘Children all learned the song that they performed at the end.
‘It went really well. I’m disappointed with the weather but we demonstrated resilience in going round.
Niel says the schools have have been using the Olympics not just as a national event but as ‘something to reflect on personally’.
He explains: ‘We have looked at the history of the athletes and who has won in the past and who is training now.
‘Children can see what it takes to succeed and how hard work brings rewards and recognition.
‘We have been giving presentations to pupils on the Olympic values and trying to relate it to all the work that they do.’
One child from each school was nominated by staff to carry the torch and two other children carried a banner bearing each school’s name.
Niel says: ‘Whenever we get the whole school together it’s an important occasion.
‘The children have been fantastic.
‘There was a warm welcome for the torch.’
The real Olympic torch will start its journey through our area in Fareham on July 15.
The flame will be carried by torchbearers through the town centre, before going on to Gosport along the A32.
Once it reaches Gosport’s waterfront, it will cross over to Portsmouth along with a small flotilla of boats. The torch will then stay in Portsmouth for an overnight celebration, including a huge party on Southsea Common with chart-toppers Rizzle Kicks.
Lisa Dunning, headteacher of Langstone Junior School, says: ‘It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment. We have had a whole theme based around the Olympics this term and the children are all working on the history of the Olympics.
‘Our children here are very aware of what’s going on.
‘They have enjoyed doing it. Now we are just counting down to the start of the Olympics.’
Ralphie Creagan, eight, was torchbearer at Langstone Junior School. He says: ‘There were lots of people looking at me and I liked it.’