Olympic celebration to take place in Beccles

THE tickets are being sold, the stadiums are being built and the athletes are dreaming of gold.

The London 2012 Olympics continues to draw ever closer and in July a year to the start of the games will be marked in Beccles with a celebration.

There will be a Chariots of Fire challenge, a triathlon and British market as local people get into the Olympic spirit.

This week business partners Christine Pinsent and Kate Lee helped launch the Beccles Olympics and put an appeal out for any local sportsmen and women, traders or groups who want to take part in the event.

On Sunday, July 24, the town centre will be awash with fun and games and a market specialising in local produce, food and crafts, to mark one year to the Games.

The centrepiece to the event will be a Chariots of Fire race for elite athletes. The competitors will be challenged to race around New Market while the clock strikes noon.

Co-organiser Christine Pinsent, who is chairman of Beccles Business Association, said: “When I first moved to Beccles there used to be a Chariots of Fire race on the Saturday lunchtime before the carnival, but then all of a sudden it finished. It is nice to resurrect that.”

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After the elite athletes will be fun runners and local groups and businesses are being encouraged to enter a team.

Kate Lee, who has run Blyburgate Antiques in Beccles for the past 15 years, said: “We already have the town council, the Beccles Business Association and undertakers. Really anybody can put together a team of about 7 people to compete in the fun run.”

Setting the athletes off will be Olympic hopeful and British Men’s Air Pistol Champion 2011 Andy Graver, from Worlingham.

Mrs Pinsent said: “Andy was very keen to get involved, which is really good. We are behind him and hopefully he will get in the Olympic team.”

After the Chariots of Fire races, will be a triathlon, with the swimming to take place at Beccles Lido where there will be further sporting events.

The event, which is in partnership with Open Weekend in Suffolk 2012 celebrations, is aimed at being a showcase for Beccles.

There will even be a winner’s podium and the town’s own version of the Olympic torch to capture the mood.

To run alongside this event will be a British market, from 10am-4pm, which will be selling local produce, food and crafts.

If you are interested in competing in the races either as a individual or as part of a team or would like more information about booking a stall for the Great British Market, call Christine Pinsent on 01502 715771 or Kate Lee on 01502 711174.