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Victory provides historic backdrop as Olympic Flame passes through Portsmouth
16 July 2012

Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory provided the latest impressive backdrop for the Olympic Flame as it continued its odyssey, passing through the Royal Navy’s Hampshire home.

The flame was passed between torchbearers in the shadow of the great man o’war as it moved through the Solent, passing through Fareham and Gosport before crossing the harbour with a RN escort to visit Portsmouth.

Pictures: LA(Phot) Claire Myers, FRPU East

A KISS? And HMS Victory?

We’ve heard that one before.

But not like this.

With one of the Olympic Flame’s security team providing a little assistance, 12-year-old Mazie Watson (on the right) passes the symbol of the Games to 18-year-old Colette Hayes in the shadow of Nelson’s flagship – a ritual known as ‘the kiss’.

HMS Victory provided the historic backdrop as the Olympic torch made its way around the Solent on the latest leg of its odyssey around the UK.

Minutes earlier patrol boat HMS Exploit – which earlier in the weekend shepherded the flame across to the Isle of Wight when it took a Red Funnel ferry – and two WW2 motorboats escorted the Spirit of Gosport on the 580-yard journey (529 metres) across the harbour from Gosport to Portsmouth.

As well as the latest torchbearer, waiting for the flame’s arrival at the Victory Arena were Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Sir Charles Montgomery, and Naval Base Commander, Commodore Tony Radakin. They were accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Frank Jonas and other civic dignitaries.

“This has been an historic day for local families and a delight to host this with our local dignitaries,” said Cdre Radakin. “It was great to see so many people in the naval base supporting the water leg of the torch’s journey and reflecting Portsmouth and the Royal Navy’s importance as an island nation.”

Jacquie Shaw, of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, added: “Being the arrival location for the Olympic Torch into Portsmouth has been a hugely memorable event and a fantastic way to showcase our unique naval attractions, past and present, as well as highlighting the talent in our local community to a worldwide audience.”

From Victory, the torch made its way to a big event and cauldron lighting on Southsea Common before resuming its journey around the land at 7.30 today at Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth FC.



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