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Torch Atmosphere "Good Natured and Convivial"

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7:01am 19th May 2012

by Emma Carton at Land's End

At half past four this morning, spectators were already getting their places here at Land's End.

They wanted a glimpse of the flame, brought from Olympia, the site of the ancient Olympics, starting its journey through Cornwall and onto London.

Local schoolchildren waving union jacks were among three thousand gathered in the chill of a Cornish May morning. Many know those chosen to carry the torch on its journey through Cornwall. Although they want the best position possible to see the start of the relay race, the atmosphere is good natured and convivial.

Many have told me they have spent the last week checking the weather forecast for today, some up to three times an hour. Rain and sunshine had been forecast but, in the event, the morning dawned overcast with sunshine breaking through over the blue of the ocean.

The iconic Land's End sign has been changed to point the way to the rest of the relay - heading on into Newlyn and Penzance from here - where more people are expected to line the route. Dancers and performers are preparing for the biggest audience they have ever had. One billion people around the world are expected to watch the moment that Ben Ainslie, fresh from winning another world title, begins the relay.

B&Bs and hotels nearby tell me that they were booked up within hours of the torch's route being revealed. They are hoping today's visit could be worth millions of pounds to Cornwall.

Even after today's circus of journalists, performers and spectators moves on the flame will continue to burn. It will only be extinguished once the games of London 2012 have been completed, by which time people gathered here today are hoping that Cornish and British athletes will have their own medals and memories to last a lifetime.

7:01am 19th May 2012

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