1948 London Olympic torch in hands of Ilford children

A 63-year-old Olympic torch passed through Redbridge schools last week as pupils were given a once in a lifetime chance to touch the relic which was used when Britain last hosted the Games.

Two torches passed through five Ilford primary schools: Christchurch, Christchurch Road; Ilford Ursuline Preparatory, Morland Road; Park School for Girls, Park Avenue; Cranbrook, The Drive and finally Apex Primary School, Argyle Road.

The event is part of Transport for London’(TfL’s) annual walk to school initiative, which all 32 London boroughs are taking part in.

Youngsters from the primary schools got to hold the torches which date back to 1948, the year of the last Olympic Games hosted in London, and a 1956 torch from the Melbourne Games.

Pupils also took part in a story writing competition, called welcome to my borough.

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Children lined up in the playground of Ilford Ursuline on Wednesday as teachers took it in turns to run the torches around while their hands were held out so they could all touch a part of Olympic history.

The torches had visited primary schools in Havering earlier that day as part of the London-wide tour.

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Director of Better Routes and Places at TfL Ben Plowden said: “This gives children the perfect opportunity to enjoy walking in their borough.

“We hope that this in turn will encourage more children and parents to walk to school more regularly.

“We hope that by instilling the Olympic and Paralympic spirit in this mass walking relay, many schoolchildren will be inspired to get active in the build up to the Games,” he added.

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