Olympic flame lights up the area

Sian Wood from Fareham carries the Olympic flame on the torch relay leg between Kings Worthy and Winchester this week
Sian Wood from Fareham carries the Olympic flame on the torch relay leg between Kings Worthy and Winchester this week

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No other event this weekend can hold a flame to the celebrations planned to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay to Portsmouth.

Ahead of London 2012, the Olympic flame (a symbol of the Games) is being transported around the nation, from one torchbearer to another.

The Historic Dockyard will be the first place to welcome the flame to Portsmouth, after it arrives on the Gosport Ferry on Sunday.

Local singers, dancers and drummers will entertain visitors there from 5pm to 6.30pm.

At Queen Street, costumed characters, a choir and performers from the Groundlings Theatre will be helping to bring the streets to life.

The Salvation Army Band will be playing at Commercial Road.

And, at the Big Screen in Guildhall Square, there will be local dancers, singers, musicians and bands performing from 5.30pm to 6.40pm.

The Portsmouth City Band will be playing at Hampshire Terrace.

Then, from 5pm to 7.30pm, there will be an evening celebration concert on Southsea Common with Rizzle Kicks, Twist and Pulse and local talent.

As well as all these free council-run events on Sunday, the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays is extending its opening hours to welcome the flame.

There is also a free family fun day at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant tomorrow in preparation for the flame’s arrival.

Titled Let The Games Begin, it runs from 10.30am until 3pm and offers families the chance to compete in fun games to win medals in a ceremony.

Challenges include, paper aeroplane throwing, egg and spoon race, plastic duck race, Wii games, wet bean bag throwing, skittles, jigsaws and snakes and ladders.

Visitors can also make their own olive crowns and there is a chance to learn about local Olympians of the past and to sample Greek food.

Meanwhile, over at Gosport Discovery Centre tomorrow, families can make their own torches, ready to wave at the parade on Sunday.

A drop-in workshop runs from 10am to 4pm.

On Sunday, the Centre is open from 12.30pm to 6.30pm with more free family fun in a themed book trail, a storytime special and a tabletop games stall on Walpole Park, where free events from 1pm to 5pm include music, dance, games, workshops and demonstrations.

There will be more free music over in Falkland Gardens in Gosport from 2pm to 6pm.

Finally, at Fishbourne Roman Palace near Chichester this weekend, families can learn about Roman sports and games in an Olympic-themed event on Saturday and Sunday.

Demonstrations on how combat skills where honed through practising ancient sports run from 11am to 4pm both days and include sports training, army drills and gladiatorial bouts explained by historical interpreters.

Alongside the re-enactors, there will hands-on activities including discus, ‘chariot’ racing and food tasting.