Carnival atmosphere as Olympic torch comes to Whitechapel and Brick Lane

A carnival atmosphere greeted the Olympic Torch as it passed through Whitechapel this afternoon on its route through the Olympic host boroughs.

The flame departed Stepney Green Park at around 3pm, making its way along a thronging Whitechapel Road, and towards Brick Lane.

Tower Hamlets residents turned out in force to welcome the torch, which finally reached the host boroughs this weekend after a journey of more than two months, which has taken it to almost every corner of the UK.

The anticipation was palpable as East Enders waited patiently along Whitechapel Road.

As the procession approached, anticipation increased. Floats encouraged the crowd to give the flame a rapturous reception, and punters duly delivered.

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As torchbearer Brad Wilson turned into Osborn Street approaching Brick Lane, people lined the route to cheer him on and welcome him to the official Curry Capital of 2012.

Amongst those who had come out to welcome the flame to the borough were Bob and Claire Morgan, who had travelled to the East End from Forest Hill, Lewisham with their two young children.

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“We had a great view of the changeover, despite all the people, and the sponsors’ trucks at the beginning of the procession seemed to do the trick of getting the crowd going,” Bob commented.

The family were soaking up the atmosphere with children Bethany, 3, and Alex, 1, kitted out in London 2012 t-shirts.

Claire said: “I think it’s good that the relay did the London boroughs last, as it’s allowed everyone across the UK to enjoy it and get into the spirit.”

A heavy police presence greeted the relay, but Inspector Ian Hicks said: “It’s gone swimmingly well for such a huge event. The Olympics seem to be bringing out the best in people, but we had to be prepared for all possibilities.”

The torch proceeded towards Hackney, and will continue its tour of the host boroughs throughout the weekend.

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