Beds, Herts & Bucks

London 2012: Flame to visit Bletchley Park during relay

Bletchley Park
Image caption The Olympic torch will visit World War II codebreaking centre Bletchley Park on 9 July

The Olympic torch will visit Bletchley Park as part of its relay around the British Isles before the London Games.

The flame will arrive at the World War II codebreaking centre on 9 July during its 70-day journey.

London 2012 organisers have announced details of the full route, which will also cover places across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

It starts on 19 May at Land's End, Cornwall, and will be in the three counties on 7, 8 and 9 July.

In Hertfordshire, the torch will visit Waltham Cross, Hertford, Ware and Bishops Stortford on 7 July and will also travel on the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre, the venue for the Olympic canoe slalom.

Paralympics' birthplace

On 8 July, it will be carried through Letchworth, Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead prior to an overnight stay in Luton, which will be marked by celebrations showcasing the town's heritage and culture.

In Bedfordshire, Bedford and Cotton End will also be included on the 8 July route, while Dunstable will be the first place visited on 9 July before the flame heads into Buckinghamshire, visiting Milton Keynes, Bletchley, Buckingham, Winslow, Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Stoke Mandeville, Aylesbury and Waddesdon.

The route through Buckinghamshire will also take in Stoke Mandeville stadium, seen as the birthplace of the Paralympics.

During the relay, the torch will be carried by 8,000 torchbearers and organisers say it will be within a one-hour journey for 95% of the population.

Simon Greenish, director at Bletchley Park, said a programme of events had been drawn up, but in line with the wartime spirit of the code breaking centre it would remain secret until nearer the day.

"The Olympic Torch will arrive on 9 July and it an absolutely fabulous event because Bletchley Park is so important to the nation.

'Direct bearing'

"Important work went on here in World War ll and people are beginning to realise that it was the beginning of the communications age.

"What happened 70 years ago here has a direct bearing on much of what we see today in terms of computers and communications.

"A growing number of visitors to Bletchley and its museum are seeing this," he said.

The flame will enter the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony on Friday 27 July, when the last relay runner will transfer it from their torch to the Olympic cauldron.

It will then continue to burn until it is extinguished on the final day of the Games.

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