Olympic torch relay: Channel Islands visit for flame

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Media captionThere were blue skies as the Olympic torch visited the Channel Islands

The Olympic flame has stopped off in Guernsey and Jersey - its southernmost destination - as the relay travels from Southampton to Portsmouth .

Adventurer Michael Stroud OBE, nominated by Sir Ranulph Fiennes for his charity work, was the first runner of the day at Southampton Guildhall.

Mr Stroud has undertaken expeditions with Sir Ranulph, including the first unsupported walk across Antarctica.

Back on the mainland the flame visited Portsmouth's HMS Victory.

During Sunday's relay, the flame was carried by 82 torchbearers on the 48-mile route and will travel through seven communities including Southampton, Guernsey, Jersey, Fareham, Bridgemary, Gosport and Portsmouth.

At 07:22 BST the flame departed Southampton Airport for the hour-long journey to Guernsey.

Channel swimmer

There the first torchbearer was retired surgeon Roger Allsopp , 71, who carried the flame on the South Esplanade in St Peter Port.

He was nominated for his Channel swim last year, which put him in the record books for being the oldest person to have completed the crossing.

While in Guernsey local athlete Jamie Bichard, 27, who is a Special Olympics cycling gold medallist, carried it to the front of Guernsey Lighthouse.

Image caption The flame will be held aloft in front of HMS Victory

Richard Collinson, 69, was the first torchbearer in Jersey. He was nominated for dedicating his life to sport and providing football coaching for young people.

Up to 400 people saw the start of the relay from Bel Royal before the flame was carried along the seafront to St Helier with crowds two or three deep, waving flags and cheering the torchbearers.

"It's a wonderful atmosphere, Victoria Avenue is heaving with people", said BBC Jersey reporter Sara Palmer as the flame set off.

Islander Sam Caffrey said: "It's something we will never see again in our lifetime.

"The atmosphere is brilliant. Everyone is enjoying it and taking part."

Torchbearers also included Sally Minty-Gravett, 54, who has swum the English Channel four times in four consecutive decades.

She lit a cauldron at the Weighbridge in Jersey, where hundreds of people greeted the torch.

Struggling to hold back tears, she said: "I can't tell you how emotional it was and how proud I am.

Once back in Southampton the torch was carried in Fareham and will go to Bridgemary and Gosport, before being taken by ferry from Gosport to the dockyard in Portsmouth.

Mazie Watson, 12, will carry the flame from the jetty at the dockyard to HMS Victory where she will hand it to Colette Hayes, 18, who was nominated by the British Olympic Association for her commitment and dedication to coaching gymnastics.

She won the 2011 British Gymnastics Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

Other torchbearers on the day included:

  • Heather Lambert, 48, from Totton, who carried the flame in Southampton. She is a foster carer who has dedicated her life to looking after the foster children.
  • Roger Sherliker, 53, from Southampton, who carried the flame in his home town. He has spent nearly 20 years volunteering as an athletics coach.
  • Charlotte Samson, 18, from St Lawrence, who carried the flame in St Helier. She is currently part of the UK Lifesaving Team selected by England to compete at the Commonwealth Lifesaving Championships.

When the flame arrived in Portsmouth there was an evening celebration on Southsea Common and the final torchbearer of the day was Jonathon Bamber, 26.

Band Rizzle Kicks and dance act Twist and Pulse will provide the entertainment.

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.