Olympic torch: Boxer Amir Khan lights Bolton cauldron
- 31 May 2012
- From the section UK
Amir Khan carried the Olympic torch in his home town as the relay travelled from Stoke-on-Trent to Bolton .
The Olympic boxing silver medallist, who now fights professionally, ran day 13's final leg into Queen's Park where he lit the cauldron.
Earlier comedian John Bishop carried the flame over the top of the tower on the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.
Brollies replaced bunting as rain hit the relay and thinner crowds than on previous days lined parts of the route.
Ex-world champion Khan, who became the youngest British Olympic boxing medallist when he won silver at the 2004 Athens Games, told the BBC: "I think the last boxer to carry a torch was Muhammad Ali, so it's a great honour for me."
"I have grown up on these streets and that's what makes it so special, that this is the town where I was born."
Funnyman Bishop completed his relay leg at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, which houses the third largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world.
Bishop is another who is no stranger to putting himself through the pain barrier, having earlier this year completed a 290-mile triathlon from Paris to London in five days to raise money for the BBC charity Sport Relief.
On Sport Relief day, 23 March 2012 it was announced that, to date, his efforts had raised £3.4m.
Commenting on the experience of taking the torch to the top, the Liverpool-born TV star said it had been "windy, wet and scary".
He said: "It is phenomenal because it is an iconic structure. We drive past it every day taking the kids to school but I never thought I would stand on it.
"The weather is terrible, but it is the north of England, that is what you are going to get."
Torchbearers continuing Thursday's sporting theme included TV presenter Kirsty Gallacher, and Carol Hoy and Pat Payne, mothers of Olympians Sir Chris Hoy and Keri-anne Payne, who ran with the flame in Wigan.
The 108-mile route also took in Crewe, Macclesfield, Widnes and Warrington.
Stoke City Football Club manager Tony Pulis started the day's proceedings at the Potteries Museum and Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent just before 07:00 BST.
He has raised more than £100,000 this year for a local children's hospice by running the London Marathon and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
And he has taken time off from a 960-mile charity bike ride from John O'Groats to Land's End to carry the torch.
Another early starter was 18-year-old Thomas Buckett, who slipped and fell through a glass skylight while retrieving a football in 2010. He landed on marble steps, shattering the left side of his skull and was not expected to survive, but pulled through after nine hours of intensive surgery.
He was told he would be paralysed on the right side of his body, unable to talk or walk. But against all the odds he is walking, talking and understands perfectly - his surgeons say he is an inspiration and that his recovery has been remarkable.
His mum Amanda told BBC Radio Stoke: "At this time two years ago he was just coming out of life-saving emergency surgery - just to see what he was doing today was absolutely amazing."
Philip Greer was also told he would never walk again after becoming paralysed at the age of six following a bout of rheumatic fever but after 14 months in a wheelchair he was back on his feet and carried the torch in Middleport.
"I've run 28 marathons and I've come up the Mall with 20,000 people cheering me on, but that was special. Doing a marathon there's thousands of others in the race, but today there's no-one else there, only you. You know everyone is shouting just for you, it's so personal.
"There was people coming up to have photos, they wanted to touch me, touch the torch. It was like being Sylvester Stallone for the day," he told BBC Radio Stoke.
Other highlights of the route included a visit to Tatton Park, one of the UK's most complete historic estates and home to a Tudor Old Hall and Neo-Classical Mansion.
Prescot's Michael Dooling, 63, carried the flame through the park after being photographed alongside Chancellor George Osborne - the local MP.
Mr Dooling was nominated for his work in athletics, having been coach of Liverpool Harriers for more than 30 years.
Also running on Thursday were Olympians Jazmin Sawyers, who won a silver medal at this year's Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, and Welsh swimmer Martyn Woodroffe, who won a silver medal at the 1968 Games in Mexico.
Another of the day's highlights was when Linda Roche, 49, carried the flame through Macclesfield. She is a Paralympian who participated in the 1984 Stoke Mandeville Paralympic Games and during the 1990s was the first female wheelchair user to represent England at badminton.
Wigan's Roy Wood, 68, carried the flame in Abram. For the past 30 years he has given up his free time to train young people in wrestling and last year he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality North West Unsung Sport Hero award.
A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame on its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey around the UK to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 27 July.