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Bring the torch to Burton request by MP Griffiths

Friday 5th August 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

BURTON’S MP has asked Olympics organisers to include the town on the route of the London 2012 torch relay.

Andrew Griffiths believes the move would be the best way to ensure Burton benefits from the event’s sporting legacy.

“It’s essential, if we are going to get the legacy from the Olympic Games in terms of inspiring people to take part in sport, for the torch to come through Burton,” he said.

Seeing the Olympic torch come through the town would leave a lasting impression on young people. I’m sure it would be hugely motivational in getting them to dream of being an Olympian in the future.Seeing the Olympic torch come through the town would leave a lasting impression on young people. I’m sure it would be hugely motivational in getting them to dream of being an Olympian in the future.

“Burton is a historic town and I just think it would be great if the torch came through it.”

The Tory MP has pressed his case in letters to Lord Sebastian Coe and Keith Mills, the chairman and deputy chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog).

After being lit in Greece, the Olympic torch will arrive in the UK on May 18 next year, before travelling across the country in a relay from May 19 to July 27.

Representing peace, unity and friendship, the flame will pass within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

During its 70-day journey, the details of which are yet to be announced, the torch will be carried by 8,000 torch bearers, one of whom Mr Griffiths hopes will be Ben Robinson, chairman of Burton Albion Football Club.

As previously reported by the Mail, the MP has launched a campaign on social networking site Facebook to build momentum behind his nominee’s candidacy.

Headlined ‘Hand Ben Robinson the 2012 torch’, the initiative has now attracted backing from around 150 people, including Albion club captain Darren Moore.

Mr Griffiths said the initiative had attracted ‘lots of positive comments’ in favour of the candidacy of a man he believes is uniquely qualified for the honour.

On the web page, the MP has written: “Nobody has done more to promote sport in Burton than Ben Robinson, particularly among young people, and so we are campaigning for Ben to carry the 2012 Olympic torch.”

Dear Lord Coe – Mr Griffith’s letter to the Olympic frontman

BURTON would make a ‘perfect’ stop on the route of the Olympic torch relay, Burton’s MP says in his letter to Lord Coe.

Andrew Griffiths tells the Olympic chief the town would make ‘an ideal daytime stop’ between Derby on June 29 and Birmingham the day after.

“Burton has a long history, pre-dating the Domesday Book, and a rich heritage,” he writes.

“The town is best known as the centre of British brewing and is still home to some of the most famous brands in the country, including Carling, Marston’s and Marmite.

“Burton is also becoming increasingly known in the world of sport. Our football team, Burton Albion, was promoted to the Football League in 2009 and enjoys strong support from within the town and surrounding area.

“The annual Burton Amateur Regatta was first held in 1865, making it one of the oldest annual sporting events in the country.

“The opening of the FA’s National Football Centre at St George’s Park, just outside the town, will strengthen Burton’s association with top-level sport.

“There is growing excitement in Burton about next year’s Olympics and torch relay.

“If the torch does come to Burton it will be incredibly well supported and will provide a focus for school and youth groups, who may not be able to get to London for the games, to get involved in our Olympics.

“I do hope you will agree that Burton would make a perfect location for a stop.”

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