The Olympic Flame arrived at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose, Cornwall on board a chartered British Airways A319 aircraft, specially named Firefly, this evening Friday 18 May. It was flown to the UK from Greece for the start of the Olympic Torch Relay by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
A delegation from the UK including HRH The Princess Royal; LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe; Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson; Mayor of London Boris Johnson and David Beckham accompanied the Olympic Flame after receiving it at the Handover Ceremony in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 17 May.
The welcoming party, led by the Deputy Prime Minister Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP greeted the delegation as they disembarked the aircraft, before a ceremonial cauldron was lit on the airfield to celebrate the Flame arriving into the UK. The event was also attended by over 500 invited public and dignitaries from the local area. Entertainment was provided for the visitors which included a Royal Navy flying display and a Royal Marines band who built up the excitement prior to the Flame’s arrival.
Captain William Entwisle, Commanding Officer of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, said: “We are honoured to have been able to help the Olympic Flame at the start of its very special journey around the United Kingdom. Our Personnel, be they part of the Search and Rescue Squadron who gave the Olympic Flame a ‘lift’, those training for frontline operations or even those who are currently supporting the Royal Navy across the globe, are very proud that our Air Station has been chosen to play a part in the build up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. We are delighted to be playing such an important role in this once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Photos: MoD crown copyright.