SLIDESHOW - Living history lesson for excited pupils

HUNDREDS of children from schools across the city waited expectantly under umbrellas and hoods in the pouring rain last Friday, as excitement grew to a crescendo at the sight of the Olympic torch.

Pupils from Our Lady’s Catholic College, where the torch party stopped for lunch, created a guard of honour as the torch was carried through the grounds and on to the field at the back.

Two of the torch bearers who ran through Lancaster, Paul Haatersley from Morecambe and Laura Johnson from Lancaster.

Two of the torch bearers who ran through Lancaster, Paul Haatersley from Morecambe and Laura Johnson from Lancaster.

Year 7 pupil Megan Peel, 12, was among the schoolchildren waiting to greet the torchbearer when she arrived.

Megan, who was with her friends Courtney Lambert and Neave Beaton, both also 12, said: “The weather was bad, but it was still worth it, it was exciting.

“We enjoyed being in the guard of honour.”

Our Lady’s head Brendan Conboy said: “It was a fabulous atmosphere despite the rain.

“It’s been a great day for the children, and they have really enjoyed it.”

After leaving the school, the torch headed into Lancaster, where it was carried past the town hall by former

Miss Morecambe Laura Johnson, 23, who was nominated as a torchbearer for her work with Lancaster Police Cadets.

She said: “I’m just really proud that I’ve been given the opportunity to carry the torch through my home town.”

Paul Hattersley, 44, from Torrisholme, carried the torch along Parliament Street.

Paul contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome three years ago, which affects the nervous system, and caused him to lose the use of his limbs.

The married father-of-two said: “I didn’t think I’d be able to walk again.

“But around three years ago it gradually started coming back through physiotherapy.

“There were dark days a few years ago, but now I’m so proud to be carrying the Olympic torch.”

Paul was nominated by colleagues at BT, where he works.

Millionaire philanthropist Barrie Wells, of the Barrie Wells Sports Foundation, which is based at City Block in Dalton Square, joined the crowds to watch the torch pass through the city.

The former insurance boss, who now sponsors British athletes and helps pay for equipment and training, expects to see 14 of the 18 athletes he sponsors, including pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale and hurdler Dai Green, go through to this year’s finals.

He said: “Seeing the reaction from the crowds, with everyone getting soaked, just shows how special and important these Olympic Games are.

“I think it shows that it really is having an effect outside London.”

After passing Dalton Square, the torch made its way out of the city, along Scotforth Road, towards Lancaster University, and then on to Garstang, before arriving at Blackpool.

Many of the district’s schools, charities and organisations also held their own Olympic celebrations.

Mayor of Lancaster Coun Sheila Denwood invited torchbearers to a special ceremony at Lancaster town hall on Friday afternoon, where Lancaster torchbearer Doris Collins presented her Olympic torch to the city.