RNAS Culdrose to welcome Olympic Flame into UK

The Lon­don Organ­is­ing Com­mit­tee of the Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games (LOCOG) today announced that the Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK at Roy­al Naval Air Sta­tion (RNAS) Cul­drose in Corn­wall on 18 May 2012.

Lance Cor­po­ral Pete Dun­ning car­ry­ing the Flame for the 2010 Win­ter Par­a­lympics in Van­cou­ver, Cana­da (stock image) [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge
An aer­i­al view of RNAS Cul­drose in Corn­wall (stock image) [Pic­ture: LA(Phot) Lee Durant, Crown Copyright/MOD 2006]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

In addi­tion to being close to the start point of the Torch Relay at Land’s End, the arrival of the Flame at RNAS Cul­drose acknowl­edges the vital con­tri­bu­tion that mar­itime and coastal search and res­cue ser­vices make to our island nation. 

Com­ment­ing on the announce­ment, Defence Sec­re­tary Philip Ham­mond said: 

“I am delight­ed that Roy­al Naval Air Sta­tion Cul­drose will be the first to wel­come the Olympic Flame into the UK. It is a fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Armed Forces to be involved in such a unique event, and one they can take pride in for years to come.” 

British Air­ways will car­ry the Olympic Flame on board flight ‘BA2012’ — a gold-liv­er­ied air­craft — from Athens to the UK on 18 May 2012. 

As the Olympic Flame is clas­si­fied as a sym­bol­ic flame it is per­mit­ted to be car­ried on board an air­craft sub­ject to spe­cial autho­ri­sa­tion from the Civ­il Avi­a­tion Authority. 

The Flame will trav­el in a cer­e­mo­ni­al lantern that is secured in a spe­cial­ly designed cra­dle which is, in turn, firm­ly fixed to a seat on the plane using a secure hold­ing device. The lantern is designed so that the Olympic Flame can burn safe­ly for up to 30 hours. 

The Chair of LOCOG, Sebas­t­ian Coe, said: 

“It gives me great plea­sure to con­firm 10 May as the Flame light­ing date and RNAS Cul­drose as the Olympic Flame’s arrival point into the UK

“My team is look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the Hel­lenic Olympic Com­mit­tee, the Min­istry of Defence and our com­mer­cial part­ners to cre­ate excit­ing events to mark the Flame’s Greek prove­nance and its arrival to our shores.” 

Fol­low­ing its arrival at RNAS Cul­drose the Flame will trav­el around the UK for 70 days on the Olympic Torch Relay from 19 May to 27 July 2012. The Olympic Flame will trav­el 8,000 miles (12,875km) across the UK to with­in 10 miles (16km) of 95 per cent of the population. 

8,000 torch­bear­ers will car­ry the Olympic Flame for approx­i­mate­ly 300 metres each, pass­ing it from torch to torch until it reach­es the Olympic Sta­di­um on 27 July 2012. 

RNAS Cul­drose, home to most of the Navy’s Mer­lin and Sea King heli­copter squadrons that are sup­port­ing oper­a­tions around the world, also offers a beau­ti­ful Cor­nish set­ting in which an esti­mat­ed 1,000 guests, media and mem­bers of the local com­mu­ni­ty are expect­ed to wel­come the Olympic Flame. 

Cap­tain Willie Entwisle, Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of Roy­al Naval Air Sta­tion Cul­drose, said: 

“We are hon­oured that the Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK by land­ing at Roy­al Naval Air Sta­tion Culdrose. 

“Our per­son­nel, many of whom are cur­rent­ly sup­port­ing the Roy­al Navy on oper­a­tions across the globe, are very excit­ed that the build-up to the Lon­don 2012 Olympic Games will start here. We are delight­ed to be play­ing such an impor­tant part in this once-in-a-life­time event.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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