Torch relay to take Olympic flame across UK

The Olympic flame will be taken on a 70-day torch relay around Britain to herald the start of the London 2012 Games.

It will arrive in Britain on May 18 2012 and arrive in London the weekend before the 2012 Games begin.

A nomination process, the details of which are still to be announced, will be used to help pick the 8,000 torch-bearers and most of them are expected to be young people. The aim is that 95 per cent of Britons will be within an hour's journey of the route.

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Revealing details of the relay for the first time at a launch on London's South Bank, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe predicted the event will bring "people across the UK together to celebrate the spirit of the Games".

Lord Coe said: "We will be working closely with villages, towns and cities the length and breadth of the UK to ensure that, as each community welcomes the Olympic Flame, they do so in a way that is unique and special to their area."

The aim is for the torch to visit different communities and cultures and draw people in to the Games. It will also be used to showcase Britain's towns, areas of outstanding natural beauty plus sporting and cultural landmarks.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson said of the relay plans: "The Olympic flame is the most recognisable symbol of the modern Games and has an awesome history tracing back to ancient Greece.

"Its arrival on our shores in May 2012 marks not only the start of the London torch relay, but arguably the start of the most important three months in the capital's recent history."