Olympic relay: Flame goes punting along River Cam

Media caption,
Community volunteer Edward Roberts held the torch aloft as it travelled down river

The Olympic flame has been punting on the River Cam on day 51 of the torch relay from Cambridge to Luton.

Volunteer and community worker Edward Roberts carried the flame as he was punted along the river to Magdalene Bridge in the university city.

Also among the day's 131 torchbearers on the 197-mile route was wheelchair badminton champion Gobi Ranganathan who carried the torch through Stevenage.

He handed over to two-time Olympic sailing gold medallist, Sarah Gosling.

Gosling, who competed under her maiden name of Webb, was one of Great Britain's "three blondes in a boat" along with Shirley Robertson and Sarah Ayton, who won gold in Athens.

Ayton and Webb were then joined by Pippa Wilson to repeat the success in Beijing.

Image caption,
Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes carried the flame

The flame travelled through the communities of Cambridge, St Ives, Huntingdon, Bedford, Cotton End, Letchworth Garden City, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Luton.

Football chairman

Hundreds of people braved torrential rain to line the banks and bridges of the River Cam to catch a glimpse of the flame at the start of the day.

Local man Mr Roberts, 26, held the torch aloft as he was punted past historic St John's College and the ornate Bridge of Sighs.

He was selected to carry the flame for his work with Linkline, SexYOUality and the Cambridge and District Community Mediation Service.

Meanwhile Queens Park Rangers chairman Tony Fernandes ran as a torchbearer in Huntingdon.

Rifleman Michael Swain from 3 Rifles, who lost both legs in an IED explosion in Helmand Province in 2009, carried the torch through St Albans.

The 21-year-old has completed a number of fundraising bike rides. He plans to cycle from Edinburgh to London later this year.

Just before the lunch break, wheelchair badminton singles champion Gobi Ranganathan, from Hertfordshire, took up his place in the relay.

Gobi is currently ranked number one in Britain and number eight in the world. His nomination said, despite the 35-year-old having spina bifida, he takes time to visit local schools and "inspires children of all abilities and ages to get involved in sport".

In the afternoon session the flame paid a visit to the Jacobean estate of Hatfield House - home of the seventh Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family.

Jack Gatehouse, 12, from Hemel Hempstead, carried the flame on the Hatfield leg of the relay . Jack has Down's Syndrome and epilepsy and can have up to 50 seizures a day.

Wheelchair basketball and tennis player Ellie Beaumont, from Berkhamsted, took her turn in Hemel Hempstead.

Media caption,
Man arrested over torch relay incident

Ella is part of Team GB for both sports and has competed in the World Championships at wheelchair basketball.

A man was arrested after he tried to enter the security bubble around the Olympic flame in the town. The relay continued uninterrupted following the incident.

An evening celebration was held at Popes Meadow Park in Luton with entertainment from Young Guns and dance act Twist and Pulse.

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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