IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 9 Jul 2012

The Olympic Torch


Ellie: As I’m sure everybody is aware, the Olympic Torch is currently travelling all over the United Kingdom. It has already visited Nottingham (home of Retail Assist’s Head Office) and Northampton (where our Data and Application Centres are based). Today it will be a stone’s throw from our Oxfordshire office, before visiting London (where many of our Aurora client services team are based) later this month.

Today, I’m here with James T Lowe, Senior Analyst Developer at Retail Assist, who was lucky enough to speak with some with the Olympic Torch team last week. So James, where did you meet the team?

James: It was at Rutland. While the torch was travelling over Rutland Water by boat, the convoy parked up in the car park. I think they allowed a bit of time for delays, etc. as they didn’t move until about 30 minutes after the flame landed on the South shore, so I had the opportunity to ‘mingle’ with the whole convoy team.

It was fascinating to chat to the different bodies of the team. There’s about 350 people directly involved with the convoy; About half of the police outriders are Met Police; and half are provided by local forces. The rider I was chatting to was part of the ‘East Midlands’ shared police motorcycle resource; so about 10 bikes were supplied from the Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire police forces. They had been with the flame since the 27th June and with it up until the 4th July, but with days off over the weekend when it went to West Midlands.

I spoke to one of the Metropolitan Police runner guards that run alongside the flame, too. On the 3rd July she was ‘flame guardian’ – but I noticed her on the BBC In Pictures for the 4th July, running alongside. Apparently they have four teams that rotate on duties. One day cycling, one day guardian, one day running and one day off.

She explained that the Davy Lamp, holding the ‘mother flame(s)’ was quite old, and has been ‘adapted’ for the torch relay by having a hole cut in the glass to allow the flame to be lit (and extinguished for relighting from the torch) They had six of them on board the coach, so were taking no chances!

The logistics of the whole thing was incredible; such a multi-agency event (police forces, county and local councils, private estates, etc.) It has been over a year in the planning, after all! It was a brilliant day out and amazing to think of all the places that single flame has travelled to in 10 weeks by the time it reaches Stratford..

Ellie: That’s great, thank you James. To find out more about the Olympic torch route, readers can visit: More information about the location of Retail Assist’s offices is available at:

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