THE Olympic Torch is set to blaze a trail through the city as it takes in Milton Keynes on its iconic 8,000 mile relay to the London Games.
News that the Olympic torch will visit MK on July 9, 2012, was officially announced yesterday by a number of dignitaries at Bletchley Park.
Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Alan Richards, said he was delighted the city was chosen to be a part of the route and glad Bletchley Park was being included in the plans.
He said: “There is a great emergence of professionally trained and amateur athletes around the city and this will be great to help them focus ahead of the games.
“I think it also gives substance to our city bid and I would hope this gives our claim a bit of glitter.”
Milton Keynes will be one of more than 1,000 villages, towns and cities that will share the honour of having the Torch pass through after an official announcment by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
The mayor was joined yesterday by leader of MK Council, Councillor Andrew Geary, who was equally proud to confirm the news.
He said: “It is unthinkable that we wouldn’t be included on the route as we bid to be recognised as a Sporting City. This is our next stepping stone towards formally becoming a city.
“The Olympic Torch relay will shine a spotlight on the people in the borough and demonstrate that the Olympic spirit is alive and well.”
Simon Greenish, chief executive of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: “We are delighted and honoured that the Olympic Torch will be visiting Bletchley Park next year. It is symbolic that 2012 also marks the Centenary of Alan Turing’s birth, Turing himself being a world-class athlete of Olympic standards.
“Bletchley Park’s inclusion in the Torch Relay is a fitting tribute to the achievements of Turing and all his code-breaking colleagues.”
Liberal Democrat leader, councillor Sam Crooks, praised the Citizen for its involvement in kickstarting the campaign to get the torch to visit the city and encouraging support and feedback from readers. He said: “This will help to emphasise the fact that we are one of the country’s best cities and it won’t be long until we hear about the city bid.
“Milton Keynes is a very avant garde place where we are not only looking to the future but we are backed up by our great history at Bletchley Park, which is a sight of world importance.”
Council chief executive, David Hill and Tim Reynolds, chairman of Bletchley Park Capital Partners were also on hand to share the news with Mr Hill stating he was confident it would help Milton Keynes become recognised as one of the best areas in the country.
He said: “The city has the impression of being soulless but we have moved on from just being known for concrete cows and roundabouts.
“We have a strong connection to amazing feats of innovation and, of course, a championship winning race team in Red Bull, and we are consistently in the top three or four areas highlighted as those who are helping Britain out of the recession.”
Lord Seb Coe, chairman of LOCOG, said: “We are thrilled to confirm Milton Keynes will act as a host location for the Olympic Flame, extending an invitation to people from across the borough to welcome the Olympic Torch Relay during its journey around the UK.
“I want to encourage people across MK to start planning how they can be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and show their support for the inspirational Torch bearers chosen to carry the Olympic Flame as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games.”