Felixstowe fears the Olympic torch

WHILE most towns and cities across the UK are looking forward to welcoming the Olympics to this country in 2012, civic leaders in Felixstowe fear it could lead to terrorism in the town.

Richard Cornwell

WHILE most towns and cities across the UK are looking forward to welcoming the Olympics to this country in 2012, civic leaders in Felixstowe fear it could lead to terrorism in the town.

Today the resort's possible rejection of a chance to host the Olympic torch was condemned by a resident and former Olympian

as “giving in” to the terror bullies.

Stan Cox - who ran in the 1948 London Olympics and in Helsinki four years later and hopes to take part in the torch relay in the run-up to 2012 games - said town councillors' worries were ridiculous.

“We just seem to be frightened of these terrorists - let's stand up to them and show them that we won't let them disrupt our lives,” said Mr Cox, 90, of Dellwood Avenue, Felixstowe.

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“This could be a fantastic opportunity for Felixstowe. It's a great idea and we should make a real celebration of it.”

Town councillors have voiced concerns about security and fear the torch tour around the country could be a target for extremists intent on causing trouble, as with the Tibet protests prior to China's staging of the last games.

Former mayor Andy Smith said security for such an event would be a vast undertaking.

“There is big potential for terrorism and disruption associated with these events and I thinking we should beware of having anything to do with it,” he said.

“I don't think anyone has seriously got their heads round what an important, critical and strategic target it will be for all those groups who want to cause mayhem.”

Fellow councillor Mike Stokell said: “I don't like to give way to these groups but we must think about security.”

But newly-elected town councillor Graham Newman felt nothing should stand in the way of the celebrations: “Bringing the torch to Felixstowe would certainly create a day to remember and have a significant impact on the town.

“Of all the towns in Suffolk, as we are the gateway to the world's market place, I think it would be highly appropriate.”

The town council will be updated tomorrow about security arrangements and implications before debating whether to host the torch.

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