Disappointment as Redbridge ‘excluded’ from Paralympic Torch Relay

The Paralympic Torch Relay later this month is skirting Redbridge, despite passing through neighbouring host boroughs.

The London leg of the relay will be on August 29, taking in landmarks before arriving at the Olympic Stadium.

The route includes Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Waltham Forest.

The torch will pass through Redbridge on a short stretch of Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead, on its way from Walthamstow to Manor Park on August 29.

Sonia Ejaz, 21, of Ilford, said it’s “unfair” that Redbridge residents will not see the torch going through the borough.

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She said: “Why should our borough be left out? We’re not a host borough but we’re so close to Stratford and I don’t find any justice in being excluded.

“Obviously the Olympics were a big international and national event but I feel like the Paralympics are more community-based.

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“It’s not fair on us, there are so many people who are enthusiastic about the Paralympics.”

But former Paralympic runner Noel Thatcher MBE, a patron of Forest School in Snaresbrook, said the torch route was “not a big issue”.

He added: “Difference is something we have to face with the Paralympics.

“Would people really want a carbon copy of the Olympic Torch Relay for another month?

“There will be lots of communities that don’t get to touch it but having the Paralympic Games in our home city by far outweighs that.

“It’s very easy to see any difference as discriminatory when what we need to do is look back and see how far we’ve come.”

Mr Thatcher is a visually-impaired runner who won five gold medals and set two world records in Paralympic Games between 1984 and 2004.

A LOCOG spokesman said the relay had to be confined to the two weeks between the end of the Olympics and start of the Paralympics.

He added: “Rather than replicate the format of the Olympic Torch Relay, we wanted to create a new concept for the Paralympic Torch Relay that would give it its own unique standing that it deserves.”

For information on the Paralympic Torch Relay, visit www.london2012.com/paralympics.

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