Festival of Suffolk torch relay begins 550-mile journey around county

The torch reaches Mildenhall with Rachel Thomas trustee for the Rickshaw and Jane Busuttil Picture:

The torch reaches Mildenhall with Rachel Thomas, trustee for the rickshaw and Mildenhall Mayor Jane Busuttil - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Crowds waving flags turned out in force for the launch of the 550-mile torch relay around Suffolk to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee. 

The market town of Brandon was decked out in bunting on Friday for the start of the relay for the Festival of Suffolk, and the torch was set on its way by two local heroes - Councillor Sam Skinner, leader of Brandon Town Council and a year 10 pupil at Breckland School. 

A 500-strong attendance packed out Market Hill as the torch began its three-week journey when it will wind its way through 250 towns and villages before reaching its destination at the Suffolk Show at Trinity Park on Wednesday June 1. 

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock with schoolchildren at the start of The Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock with schoolchildren at the start of The Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

On arrival at the final stop, the torch will be greeted by The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, and a pageant of 450 young people, NHS and emergency service workers, along with the military. 

Tim Holder, head of public affairs at Suffolk Community Foundation, who is on the Festival of Suffolk team, said: “It was absolutely amazing. There were at least 500 people gathered in Market Hill in Brandon to see the torch off. 

“The place was covered in bunting. It was everything you could possibly have hoped to kick off the platinum jubilee celebrations for the Queen. All the children and parents waving flags.”

The Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay starts off in Brandon Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

The Festival of Suffolk Torch Relay starts off in Brandon - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The torchbearers rode in a rickshaw which travelled along the High Street before taking the A1065 towards Lakenheath and then turning right at Wangford Road. 

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Rickshaws, provided by services in Bury St Edmunds, Framlingham and Stowmarket, will cover the torch relay route and will comprise a small team, including the rickshaw driver, supported by relay organiser Mark Brennan. 

The charities providing the rickshaws use them to offer free rides in the community to people with mobility difficulties or experiencing social isolation. 

Schoolchildren cheered on the Festival of Suffolk torch relay

Schoolchildren cheered on the Festival of Suffolk torch relay - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK

Welcome parties are being organised in towns and villages along the route, while the county’s bellringers are planning to ring a peal as the torch passes churches along the way. 

The progress of the torch will be visible on both the Festival of Suffolk website and social media through a live link from the ‘Best of Suffolk Torch Tracker’. 

For more information on the route, visit https://www.festivalofsuffolk.org/all-events/torch-relay 

Brandon Town Council leader Sam Skinner sets off

Brandon Town Council leader Sam Skinner sets off - Credit: Simon Lee Photography Suffolk UK