Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Portsea welcomes the Olympic Torch

VICTORY From left, Commodore Tony Radakin, Colette Hayes, Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, his wife Patricia, Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery and Mazie Watson
VICTORY From left, Commodore Tony Radakin, Colette Hayes, Lord Mayor Frank Jonas, his wife Patricia, Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery and Mazie Watson
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AS the sun shone over Portsmouth harbour, the Olympic flame was carried across to the city on the Gosport Ferry.

To mark the occasion, Naval Base tugs fired out water cannons over the Spirit of Gosport as it crossed the harbour, accompanied by vessels from the Portsmouth Naval Base Properties Trust.

The horn of the Gosport Ferry echoed out as thousands lined the harbour waving Union Jack flags and music was played as the ferry docked.

The first torchbearer, Mazie Watson, waited patiently as she watched the ferry arrive.

‘I’m really nervous but I am really excited,’ she said beforehand.

‘I have got lots of family and lots of friends here to watch.’

As the ferry docked, a team of sailors from the Royal Navy greeted it and a fanfare was played as the flame was carried in the lantern on to the pontoon in the harbour.

A huge roar of applause sounded out as the flame was lit to the first torchbearer.

Commander David Hilton, said it was an honour to see the torch come through the dockyard.

‘It’s excellent for the navy to see it come in,’ he said.

‘We had lots of flags flying. It probably won’t happen again. All the sailors here were volunteers keen to be part of the moment.’

Max Grady, eight, was standing next to HMS Warrior to watch the flame arrive.

He said: ‘We wanted to see the torch and see the people carrying it. There are lots of people in our community we would like to say thank you to and we want to support all our athletes.’

As Mazie proudly ran with the torch through the dockyard she was greeted with cheers from the hundreds who had lined the streets.

She took the flame to HMS Victory where it was passed to 18-year-old Colette Hayes in a private handover attended by Navy personnel and other dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, councillor Frank Jonas.

The torch was then carried out of the dockyard and on to Queen Street up along Edinburgh Road before it reached Guildhall Square.