THERE were scores of people queuing outside two supermarkets so they could touch a part of sporting history.
The Sainsbury’s stores in Mengham Road, Hayling Island, and Fitzherbert Road, Farlington, were chosen to host the Paralympic torch.
Staff invited customers to hold the flame and take photographs to capture the moment.
As sponsors of the Paralympic games, Sainsbury’s is hosting the torch throughout the country before it is carried and lit in the opening ceremony at the Olympic stadium on next Wednesday, .
Angie De La Riviere, of Seaview Road, Hayling Island, went along with her husband Melvyn.
The couple are volunteers who will be working in the Olympic stadium throughout the Paralympics.
Mrs De La Riviere, 62, said: ‘I used to run for Portsmouth in the athletics team when I was younger and it inspired me to apply as a London volunteer and so far the whole experience has been out of this world.’
Mr De La Riviere, 69, said: ‘When we heard the torch was coming to Hayling, we asked Sainsbury’s if we could gatecrash and they said they would love to have us.
‘We can’t believe it’s all happening this year – the Paralympics held in England, we’re volunteering up there and then the torch comes to our home town.’
The event was attended by mayor of Havant, Councillor Gerald Shimbart.
He said: ‘It’s a great honour for Hayling Island to have the torch.
‘It’s great to know that the torch was here, especially as Havant wasn’t included in the Olympic torch relay.’
Councillor Leah Turner added: ‘The torch coming to Hayling has been wonderful.
‘As the Paralympics started in Stoke Mandeville, the games are personal to this country.
‘I’ve heard the most tickets have been sold this year so it’s really special.
‘Seeing the torch raised everyone’s spirits – the children were loving it.’
Millie Green, 13, from Hayling, said: ‘It was nice to see the torch in Hayling as we usually have to travel to Portsmouth or another city to see all the events but we just had to walk down the road.’
The silver torch visited the Farlington store in the afternoon.
Scores of people queued in the car park to get a glimpse of the torch.
Parents Ivor and Maggie Haskell, of Balfour Road, North End, took their daughter Jennifer and her friend Coral Ormston, eight, to see the torch.
Jennifer, eight, said: ‘I was excited to see it and I queued with my best friend.
‘I only got to see the Olympic torch pass, so it was good to hold one.’
Store manager Phil Bridgwater said: ‘It was a fantastic afternoon and was great to see such a turnout.’