If you’ve driven by Walsall Police Station recently you may have noticed a lovely yellow sign sitting on the pavement advising that there are some upcoming road closures. Being an attentive driver you’ve kept your eyes on the road but you did glance something about June 30th. What’s happening on June 30th though?
Well, after taking the strangest route possible from Olympia, the Olympic Flame will finally be completing its historic journey and arriving on the good streets of our fair town.
It should be a great day and even if the thought of someone running through the streets brandishing a flaming torch doesn’t ignite your interest, there are plenty of other events taking place for you to enjoy.
The arrival of the flame is a historic event and will likely attract a large amount of media interest, especially considering the important role played by Walsall in the original Olympic games several thousand years ago.
Greek folklore has it that after Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, he took it to Walsall and hid it in a cave at the bottom of Park Street, the location of which is now marked by the town’s famous concrete hippo.
The symbolism of the hippo has been lost over time although some say that even on the coldest of nights, the hippo feels warm to the touch as though the ancient fire still burns beneath its belly.
Okay, some of the above may not be true (does anybody know why there is a concrete hippo in Walsall?) however torch day is sure to be one that’ll be burnt into people’s memory for many years to come.
This said, where can you see it and after you’ve seen it, what else can you do to celebrate Prometheus’ shameless offence against S. 1 of the Theft Act 1968?
As you can see from the above map, the flame’s route takes it down Bloxwich High Street onto Green Lane and then around the town centre. After refreshments (it’ll have burnt a few calories by this point) it’ll get hot on the tail of its escort and shoot down Wolverhampton Road, across Junction 10 and into Willenhall before leaving the Walsall area for Wolverhampton.
We estimate (and these plans could go up in smoke) that the torch will arrive in Bloxwich at around 11:50 and then enter the town centre at 12:25. It’ll be leaving Walsall again at 13:45, should reach Willenhall at 14:20 and will be leaving again ten minutes later.
Between Leamore Lane and Green Lane and also whilst crossing Junction 10 the torch will not be on display as it’ll be hitching a lift with the support team.
The route planned for the torch will be closed off in advance so you’re advised to make alternate transport arrangements on the day itself, lest you get caught up in the festivities and little hot under the collar.
Bloxwich, Walsall and Willenhall are all holding their own celebrations to mark the flame’s arrival which include face painting, food, music and more. You can find out more about the events on the Walsall for 2012 website and they’re encouraging you to contact them and get involved so please feel free to do so.
If you’re outside Walsall and would like to know where the flame is going, check out the official route for more info.
The flame’s arrival is sure to be warmly received* and as a once in a lifetime event, it’s one that you’re not going to want to miss. Morrissey once wrote ‘there is a light that never goes out’ – go out it hopefully won’t, but come to Walsall again it may well never do so make sure you make the most of it!
* Apologies for my flame puns, I tried to stop but I was simply on fire with them…