What Bracknell Thinks. Was Olympic Torch good for the town?By Hugh Fort
July 20, 2012
A historic event happened in Bracknell last week when the Olympic torch was carried through the town.
Thousands of people lined the streets around the town centre to cheer on the runners, which included two local people.
We asked our panel if they went to watch, whether they enjoyed it and what they thought it meant for the town.
Henry Ellis, of Bracknell Aikido Club: “I live near the London Road, but I did not go to see the Olympic torch. I was too busy trying to get out of my car park where the Bracknell inconsiderate had parked to see the Olympic torch. I don’t see that it meant much to the town other than a serious inconvenience at a time when people were leaving work.”
Hazel Kent, of Bracknell Market café: “I did go and see the torch come through Bracknell and I must admit, it was lovely to see so many people turn out for the event.
“In fact, with how the town and market has been in the last few years, I was amazed people actually live in Bracknell.
“It just goes to show that all those thousands of people who turned out obviously shop in other towns because I’ve never seen so many people in this town. I think it was great, though, and proves that when something like this happens, people can and do make the effort.”
Peter Smith, of The Better Business Alliance: “Anne and I (wife of 41 years) wheeled my 91-year-old mother-in-law to watch the Olympic torch last Tuesday. It was really convivial being in a crowd of good-natured yet noisy people, many of school age.
“The atmosphere was excellent, enhanced by the arrival of police motorbikes with hefty police riders giving high fives to the school kids.
“Then came the support vehicles and the music, all building to the crescendo of the arrival of the torch carried by a diminutive figure in white holding the torch in the air. The view of the torch lasted about five seconds and then they were gone. It all seemed to be a bit of an anti-climax.
“Then we received the words of wisdom from my dear mother-in-law who said “Well that was once in a lifetime; I am glad I came to see it”. And of course she was right. It might have been just five seconds but it is a five seconds that we will remember well into the future. There are not many five seconds we can say that about.”
Bracknell Blogger Darren Bridgman: “I did see it. I went out with my son to watch. Very nice to see the torch run past and see it change hands here in Bracknell.
“I wasn’t very interested in the floats. For me it was all about the torch and the fact many people had turned out to watch.”
Winkfield artist and author Jonathan Greenyer: “I watched the Torch Relay, it was an event of two parts.
“Firstly there is the runner, proud and heroic and full of Olympic spirit; bravo. Second, there is the crass commercial exploitation as manifest in the many commercial vehicles blasting out loud music, with dancing/prancing promotional staff screaming through microphones at the bewildered crowds who just wanted to see the runner. It was cringe-makingly embarrassing. Yet the torch runner carried on in an oasis of calm. Just how much is this costing? £200k a day? The lasting effect on Bracknell? None at all.”