Bear Grylls makes zip wire dash with Olympic flame

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Media caption,

Thousands of people lined the River Tyne to watch the zip wire flight of the flame

The Olympic torch has seen another first on day 28 of its journey around the UK, making its away across the River Tyne on a zip wire.

Watched by thousands of onlookers in Newcastle, Chief Scout Bear Grylls jumped off the bridge and landed safely into the parade ground of HMS Calliope.

Earlier, football legend Jack Charlton carried the Olympic flame through the centre of the city.

The 1966 World Cup winner, 77, was one of 141 torchbearers carrying the flame.

Friday's evening celebration took place at the Quayside.

Rope and fire

The zip wire event saw Grylls slide down the 400m wire as fireworks went off around him, and the TV presenter and adventurer admitted he had been concerned about several aspects of the day.

"I was kind of worried about the torch going out but it stayed alight - it was amazing," said Grylls, who in 1998 became the youngest Briton to conquer Mount Everest at just 23 years old.

Image caption,
Bear Grylls captivated the crowd as he completed the dare-devil stunt

"I was a bit nervous about rope and fire but it was fine and we are in one piece."

He added: "I think you're not human if you're not nervous when you're standing 200ft up and it's blowing you around a little bit. It's a long drop.

"It's still alight, we're alive and I'm super proud to have carried the torch."

Action-man Grylls is the star of the TV series Man vs Wild and Born Survivor, in which he shows viewers how to survive in dangerous and inhospitable parts of the world.

Image caption,
Jack Charlton carried the torch in the centre of Newcastle

Charlton's journey with the Olympic flame may have been less spectacular than that of Grylls, but the former Newcastle FC manager, walking with a stick, was cheered on by ecstatic crowds.

He carried the flame through the centre of the city before visiting the club's ground St James' Park, an Olympic football venue.

But BBC Newcastle's Fiona Marley Paterson at St James' Park said the flame's planned lap of honour around the pitch had to be cancelled - apparently because the ground was still sporting "unofficial" advertising.

The day's first torchbearer was Richard Moules, 65, who helped keep a village shop open in the Northumberland village of Humshaugh.

Others include Louis Smith , 23 became the first Briton in 100 years to win a medal in the men's individual gymnastics event when he took bronze at the Beijing Olympics four years ago.

One of Britain's most promising table tennis players, Darius Knight, 21, carried the flame in Choppington.

Andrea Thompson, 43, took up the torch in her home city of Newcastle. Her son Jordan died from an infection whilst fighting leukaemia in 2007, aged 15.

She later set up the Toma Fund to support young people and their families in the North East and Cumbria who have been affected by a diagnosis of childhood cancer.

Friday's route went through the communities of Alnwick, Hipsburn, Warkworth, Amble, Ashington, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Choppington, Morpeth, Hartford, Bedlington, Blyth, Whitley Bay, Cullercoats, Tynemouth, North Shields, Howdon, Wallsend and Newcastle.

The convoy visited Warkworth Castle and also crossed Gateshead's Millennium Bridge.

The Olympic flame arrived in the UK from Greece on 18 May and the relay began at Land's End, Cornwall, the next day.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.

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