The Olympic Torch started its 70-day journey on May 19 and will end at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, travelling the length and breadth of the UK before the Olympic Games, Bolton was chosen as just one of seven places in the North West where it would stay overnight; this was a huge honour for the town. The Mayor of Bolton, Councillor Guy Harkin, told the crowds in Victoria Square that it was a “proud day for Bolton”.
As it made its way into the borough people made sure the Olympic Torch had a true Bolton welcome. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to welcome the Torch as it travelled from Westhoughton, through Bolton, along Wigan Road, passing Shree Swaminarayan Sidhant Sajivan Mandir on Deane Road Bolton to Victoria Square, before going onwards to Queens Park for the evening concert.
The Olympic Torch was welcomed by the cultural spirit of Bolton as communities spilled onto the streets and joined in the celebrations. Flags, bunting and excited faces lined the route for up to two hours before the Torch arrived to make sure they had a front row seat. As it came past, the crowds broke into spontaneous applause and deafening cheers before waving it on its way.
Meanwhile, huge crowds gathered outside the Shree Swaminarayan Sidhant Sajivan Mandir Bolton as spectators enjoyed dhol performances by the younger members of the Mandir; whilst the women lined the street carrying the traditional Indian pots (Hamayas), also allowing members of the public to join in carrying the Hamayas as the torch went past.
When The Torch made its way into Victoria Square, The Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band Bolton made sure The Olympic Torch had an exceptional and an excitatory welcome as well as entertaining the crowd in anticipation its arrival.
This historic event filled with laughter, cheer and celebration was certainly an once-in-a-lifetime occasion. The people of Bolton proved they are as much a part of the Olympic Games as London.