- Monday, 02 July 2012 12:32
Around three-quarters of the total population of the Derbyshire Dales turned out to watch the Olympic Torch Relay tour through the District on Friday.
Official figures show that an amazing near-50,000 people lined the streets as the iconic flame made its way through Matlock, Darley Dale, Chatsworth, Bakewell and Ashbourne, including a photocall at Matlock Bath's Heights of Abraham.
- View our Flickr gallery / Facebook gallery of photographs from the Torch's tour of Matlock, Darley Dale, Bakewell and Ashbourne.
- Talented District Council member of staff Richard Gregory also has a gallery of Matlock Torch photos.
Emergency planning experts monitoring the progress of the Torch estimated that 10,000 people gathered in Matlock, 6,000 in Darley Dale, 2,000 at Chatsworth, 15,000 in Bakewell, 15,000 in Ashbourne and 500 at the Heights of Abraham.
A host of celebratory events were planned by Derbyshire Dales District Council and its partners and it appears local people took heed of the message to arrive early for the celebrations.
After some early rain flurries before the Torch's arrival in the Dales from Chesterfield, the sun shone as more than 20 Torch bearers carried the flame through one of the most beautiful areas on the Olympic tour.
The atmosphere was electric as the flame arrived in Matlock town centre on schedule at 3pm after a fabulous lunchtime stop at the town's Highfields School and a trip to the Heights of Abraham where 17-year-old international gymnast Dominick Cunningham was the Torch bearer.
Young people played a massive part in creating a superb atmosphere. Around 40 local schools were involved on the day in the Dales, cheering the Torch bearers and the 2012 Olympic Relay convoy as it progressed to Darley Dale at 3.15pm, Chatsworth at 4pm, Bakewell at 4.40pm and Ashbourne at just after 6pm.
Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, said:
"I was in the crowd near the Market Place in Ashbourne and the sheer volume of people there was absolutely incredible. The county as a whole generated a turnout of 250,000, which I understand to be one of the very best on the Torch's tour to date, and the people of the Derbyshire Dales once again showed just why this is such a fantastic place to live, work and visit.
"The Torch Relay was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime event and I'm proud the District Council was able to play its part by coordinating the entertainment and logistics for a day that I know will be a talking point for years - and possibly generations - to come. I want to say thank you to everyone who turned out and to those who helped with the organisation, including the Town Councils of Ashbourne, Bakewell, Darley Dale and Matlock, Derbyshire County Council, the Peak District National Park Authority, dozens of local groups and scores of volunteer stewards."
The Relay, which started out from Land's End on 19 May, reaches its ultimate destination of London's Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony on Friday 27 July.