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Thousands welcome Bobby Charlton and the Olympic torch to Trafford
THOUSANDS of people welcomed the Olympic Torch to Trafford this Sunday in what can only be described as a sea of umbrellas and raincoats.
Despite the early start and torrential rain, it is thought that more than 4,000 people lined the streets, with families from across the borough turning out in force to witness the “once in a lifetime experience”.
Arriving in Trafford just after 6am, the torch was passed to inspirational Kirsty Howard. The 16-year-old carried the torch attached to her wheelchair over the bridge from Media City and was greeted with an almighty cheer and round of applause.
MP Kate Green was just one of those patiently waiting as the torch made its way from Media City.
She told the Messenger: “I’m really excited. It’s never going to happen in my lifetime again and it’s been worth getting up so early in the pouring rain.”
As the torch made its way down Trafford Wharf Road, it was greeted by one of its most prestigious torchbearers – Sir Bobby Charlton.
The 74-year-old carried the torch to Old Trafford, where he was greeted by thousands of flag-waving enthusiasts.
The 1966 World Cup winner and Manchester United hero was one of 10 torchbearers who carried the torch through Trafford.
He stopped to speak to cheering fans in front of the iconic Trinity statue, which depicts United’s ‘Holy Trinity’ of himself, George Best and Denis Law.
Sir Bobby described the atmosphere as “magic” and said he was overwhelmed by the amount of people who had shown up to see him so early in the morning.
He said: “It’s staggering isn’t it? But they like to be a part of it and it’s just a happy time.”
Trafford Council Leader, Matt Colledge, expressed his delight at the number of people who turned up to see Sir Bobby Charlton with the Olympic flame.
He said: “Sir Bobby is a footballing legend and a wonderful ambassador for the area. We are very proud that he carried the torch through Old Trafford.”
Manchester United fan Darren Meredith and 13-year-old son, Owen, were among those lining Sir Matt Busby Way in hope of seeing Sir Bobby carry the torch from Water’s Reach.
Darren said: “We didn’t expect there to be so many people here, we thought the weather might have stopped people coming out, so it was really nice to see so many people come out and cheer it on.”
One family who had braved the weather was the McNicol family. 44-year-old Fin said before the event: “The rain is pretty typical for us here so it’s perfectly appropriate that we’ve got the Olympic Torch here today. There’s a lot of people here and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity so I’m really looking forward to it.”
His three children, Jack (eight), Emily (10) and Harry (10), were equally excited about seeing the flame.
Their mother, Clare, said: “The kids have obviously done a lot about the torch at school, so they’ve been looking forward to it all week.”
As the torch left Trafford and headed for Manchester, the McNicol family were just one of hundreds to go on to the Good Morning Trafford event at Lancashire Cricket Club.
Young and old alike piled into The Point's giant conference suit as they smashed a breakfast world record.
More than 1,000 people tucked into bowls of Kellogg’s cornflakes and hot drinks.
Even Sir Bobby Charlton made a special guest appearance at the event, helping Trafford to beat the world record with a comfortable ease.
The previous record, of 324 people eating breakfast cereal at a single venue, was set in New York by Blind Brook Middle School in May of this year.
Most of the participants in Sunday’s breakfast feat were Trafford school children.
The delight at breaking the world record was clear, as scores of people took to the @Trafford_2012 official Twitter page to tweet their pictures and memories of the day.
Trafford Council Leader, Matt Colledge, was just one of the 1046 people who took part in the event. He said: “Seeing the Olympic torch and breaking a world record made this an extra special time for so many people and one that I am sure will be remembered for years to come.”
With a morning of fun-filled activities to follow, including mascot racing, dance performances and sports, Trafford certainly made the most of what could have been a truly wet and miserable morning.