Letter - We were let down over Olympic Torch procession

I WOULD like to take to task the organisers for the spectator area in front of the County Hall and the top end of Rishworth Street where we and many others had gathered to view the Olympic Torch.

We had been stood for almost an hour before Rishworth Street was closed to traffic. When this happened, the people at the end of the lines at either side of the street moved forward across the road.

A police officer then approached and asked everyone to move back onto the pavements on either side of the street as the cavalcade was going to take a wide sweep at this point.

This allayed our worries that the torch was going to pass directly in front of the door area of the County Hall and we therefore would not have seen it close up. Everyone did as they were asked.

About 15 minutes later police motorcycle escorts and some Olympic cavalcade advertising/sponsor vehicles travelled along Laburnum Road and turned onto Rishworth Street to continue along Wood Street.

There was then another 10 minutes or so pause when more vehicles approached from the same direction, these being the support buses and large vans.

All of these vehicles stopped immediately in front of the spectators stood on Rishworth Street.

We then heard someone call out that the Olympic torch was passing in front of the County Hall but we could see nothing because of the vehicles stood in front of us all.

We all tried to get in front of or to the other side of these vehicles but by this time the Olympic torch had gone.

There were at least a hundred people, maybe even more of us, who did not see the Olympic torch because of this ridiculous and bad organisation in this area.

It was promoted as a once in a lifetime event which should not be missed. We did not intend to miss this event and took our carefully chosen places at the side of the Olympic torch route as was advertised in various media but we will never get the chance to see it ever again.

We are of course extremely disappointed at this outcome but above all we are angry that this was allowed to happen, not just to us but all those other people too.

Firstly I would have liked to have been able to question the police officer who was on duty on Rishworth Street and ask his reasons for instructing us to stand/stay in a position where he would have known we were unlikely to see the actual torch.

Secondly I would like to question the people responsible for the spectator barriers as they were obviously put in the wrong places to ensure that all the people could see the torch.

There are many unhappy people in Wakefield who, like us, made a special effort to attend this momentous occasion only to be disappointed by bad organisation.

I hope some of those responsible will see this letter and realise that instead of us coming away from the event with a feeling of pride and elation, we who did not see the Olympic torch are only feeling saddened and let down.

John & Christine


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