The Festival of Suffolk torch will begin its 588-mile journey across the county this morning to shine a spotlight on hundreds of local communities.

Setting off from Brandon at 9am, the torch relay will make its way through 250 towns and villages in the county over the next three weeks, ending at the Suffolk Show in Ipswich on Wednesday, June 1, to be a centre-piece for the big jubilee pageant.

The eagerly-anticipated festival is set to be one of Suffolk’s biggest ever community celebrations and the county’s way of marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

A launch ceremony for the torch relay will be held in Brandon on Friday before the torch passes through Lakenheath, Holywell Row, Mildenhall, Barton Mills, Worlington, and Red Lodge, finishing the first leg at Newmarket.

The first two torch bearers in Brandon will be town council chairman Samuel Skinner and IES Breckland Year 10 student Andrew Dean.

Andrew is chairman of the school council at IES Breckland and leads a team of around 20 students who meet on a regular basis.

The school council arrange many different events at the school, and Andrew is currently working alongside members of the senior leadership team to introduce a new approach to how the school council operates.

Mr Skinner will take the torch on its first section of the tour of Brandon before handing to Andrew to take it to the perimeter of Brandon.

Over the course of the next three weeks, a selection of community heroes will carry the torch as it winds around the county.

The first big event of the festival will be at Newmarket Races on Saturday, May 14, where the home of horse racing is hoping to attract a bumper crowd for its family race day, which will also welcome the torch.

Decorated with bunting and flags, not only will the racecourse host a great day of racing, there will be also craft activities for children, face-painting, a Hornby model racetrack, strolling musicians, and Suffolk Punches to admire.

A Spitfire and a Hurricane will have flown in and will be on display, along with their pilots and suitably uniformed re-enactors to chat to. There will also be a competition to allow up to five members of the public to sit inside either aircraft.

For more information on the festival and events, click here.